By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The Morinville Festival Society is looking to help families beat the winter blahs by taking one of Canada’s great pastimes indoors. In their first mini-festival outside the annual St. Jean Baptiste Festival, the society is bringing a street hockey skills competition to the cultural centre Jan. 26, tying the event to the Will Stroet children’s concert taking place the same day.
Festival Chair Paul Smith said the event is geared to children 10 and under and their families. In addition to providing children with an opportunity to try their hand at street hockey skills indoors, the cultural centre lobby will house the Farmers’ Market, allowing parents to do some mid-winter shopping. Smith said the event is not exclusive to inside the facility. A number of events, including pony rides, are geared to take place in the parking lot. A full schedule of those events is not yet available.
“The purpose of the whole thing is to have an event aimed at young kids,” Smith said, adding the goal of the Morinville Festival Society is to have a festival in each of the four seasons. “This is the festival between prime times. This is our launch in keeping things aimed at families.”
He sees the timing of this first mini festival as being appropriate. “I think we need a festival in January to break up the monotony of winter,” Smith said, adding the choice to take a street hockey theme was a tie in to the strong hockey culture that thrives in Morinville. “Hockey is a strong Canadian and Morinvillian centrepiece. Not everyone can skate. Putting it inside allows everyone to enjoy the Canadian that is hockey without having to have the skill of skating.”
Joining the Morinville Festival Society in hosting the event are the Morinville Community Cultural Centre and Servus Credit Union.
“It was a natural partnership because they [Servus] were a partner with the Morinville Festival Society as well [as the cultural centre],” he said, noting amalgamating the two children’s events made sense.
Servus Credit Union Branch Manager Kym Moore agrees. “We think it is a great idea because we are a supporter of the arts, of kids, of sports, and it just made sense to put it all together, spending a winter day bringing it inside,” Moore said. “One of our many parts of being part of the community is kids. It just made sense to really foster that.”
There are no costs involved in the 10-and-under Street Hockey Festival. Tickets for the Will Stroet show are $10 and available at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre box office or online at www.morinvillencetre.ca. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 26. The Stroet show takes place at 2 p.m.