Hay River’s Winter Celebration fights urge to hibernate

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Sports will play a key role in the Winter Celebration set for Feb. 9.

Dale Loutit, the recreation programmer with the Town of Hay River, has organized the community's third Winter Celebration. The Feb. 9 event will take place in various locations and will feature numerous activities, including sports like snowshoe racing. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Dale Loutit, the recreation programmer with the Town of Hay River, has organized the community’s third Winter Celebration. The Feb. 9 event will take place in various locations and will feature numerous activities, including sports like snowshoe racing.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

There will be skiing, snowshoeing, swimming and sliding, along with a multitude of other events and activities.

Dale Loutit, the recreation programmer with the Town of Hay River and the organizer of Winter Celebration, said the goal is to enjoy the season.

“So everyone can come out and celebrate it instead of hiding away in their homes and being like it’s too cold to come out,” she said.

Loutit said Hay River is a community where there is winter many months of the year.

“So there’s a point where you have to – instead of being grumpy about it – celebrate it,” she said. “Enjoy it as much as you can.”

As the recreation programmer for the town, Loutit said it is more difficult to get people out for activities when it gets really cold, for such things like sliding or snowshoeing

“I definitely find when it’s a little bit colder, especially under minus 20, you’ll have less people or no people,” she said.

Winter Celebration is designed to get people out by packing a lot of events into one day.

For the sports-minded, there will be free swims at the pool from 2-3 p.m. sponsored by Local 6 of the Union of Northern Workers and again from 4-5 p.m. sponsored by Demand Distributing Ltd.

Sliding and snowshoe races, sponsored by the Town of Hay River, will take place at the Bob McMeekin Memorial Chamber Park from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

There will be free family skiing and a potluck at the Hay River Nordic Centre from 3-6 p.m. Ski and snowshoe equipment will be available to borrow.

Winter Celebration will also include a winter and snow storytime and winter art display at NWT Centennial Library, a pancake breakfast at the Legion, a Winter Market in the multipurpose room at the Rec Centre, a free viewing of The Mighty Ducks at Riverview Cineplex, and a family Valentine’s Day dance at Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre.

Loutit said she contacted various organizations in the community about becoming involved in Winter Celebration.

“So that it’s a community collaborative thing, because people in this community have different ideas and interests,” she said. “We can offer up things for everybody no matter what their interests are and what they want to do on their leisure time.”

Loutit is very pleased with the involvement of so many people in presenting Winter Celebration.

“People even give other ideas that we could try and do,” she said. “So I’m hoping that this will start being a tradition every year to do, an annual event.”

Winter Celebration was held for the first time in 2016 and again in 2017.

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