By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Families, farmers’ markets and fireworks are just part of the focus this Family Day weekend. The Town of Morinville has partnered with the Morinville Festival Society to bring three days of activities to town, affording residents the opportunity to connect with their families and one another over the long weekend.
This year’s Snowman Festival offers three days of family-friendly events running Feb. 16 to 18 in a variety of venues throughout town.
Things kick off Saturday with a number of activities focused on winter sports. Street hockey and street curling will take place on 102 Street on either side of 100 Avenue, and sports themed ice sculptures will be in St. Jean Baptiste Park. The library will also be hosting author Steven Sandor whose latest sports-themed novel is set in Morinville.
For those who like something a little different, the Farmers’ Market will take place in Town Hall and Higher Grounds and Kelly’s Deli and Bakery are teaming up to offer a cribbage tournament and free chili lunch at the local coffee shop.
Things wrap up Saturday night with a family dinner and dance at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. The Green Bean will provide the meal and the Chris Durand Band will get families moving to work off some of those calories.
Sunday’s activities include the Annual Bob Foster Fun Fishing Derby at the Fish and Game Association pond, back-to-back movies at the cultural centre, and a free family skate at the arena. Skaters will skate to music, lights and a bit of fog to make their strides and glides a little more interesting.
Monday’s line up includes several activities at the arena, including a free family skate, family broomball, youth shinny, balloon twisting, face painting and a community lunch.
Across the road at the Rendez-Vous Centre, the Lions Club will host an historical celebration with a variety of crafts, displays and activities for the family.
Family Day will conclude at dusk with a fireworks display provided by the Morinville Festival Society.
Partnering to combine strengths
Morinville’s Director of Community Services, Kerri Dawson, said the three-day festival is not unusual for her department and that partnering with the society made sense. “The prior year  it was one day, but they recognized it needed to grow,” Dawson said. “It grew last year. It was over the long weekend and every day was filled. We’re continuing with that. Our connection with the festival society – there’s no point working against. This is a golden opportunity for the members of the festival committee and for the town. We’re not separate entities. We’re one and the same.”
Dawson said the Town has always worked behind the scenes on the various festivals and the annual Canada Day picnic. “We’ve always provided services,” she said. “This time we are saying we are all together and whatever needs to be done gets done. We’ve identified those people that are specialists in their areas. [Festival Chair] Paul [Smith] is really good at schmoozing and shaking hands. We’re really good at organizing. We need something. We recognize it, organize it and we get it done.”
Festival Chair Paul Smith said the partnership has allowed efforts to be increased this year. “We’re making a Family Day Festival like the Town has not seen before,” Smith said. “Along with the events that happened last year, we’re adding a number of events that appeal to families and that really give them an opportunity to enjoy their community indoors and outdoors.”
As they did with the mini-festival in January, there is a desire among the Festival Society members to help people through the wintery blahs by showing them all the things to be enjoyed in Morinville winter. But the focus will remain on the family. “The festivals for Morinville need to be focused on families and Family Day is a natural extension of that,” Smith said, adding he is hoping to see large turnouts to the various events.
For a full list of Family Day events click here.