Family fun in the valley

Austin M.
Austin M. Davis
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Anastasia Morris, 8, enjoys her first ever roasted marshmallow during Wakamow Winterfest on Sunday.

The temperature during the Wakamow Winterfest on Sunday helped the event live up to its name.

“It’s a little chilly out here, but the sun’s shining bright and we’ve had a pretty good turnout,” said Crystal Froese, director of community relations for Wakamow Valley Authority.

“People have been out and they’ve been roasting marshmallows, taking wagon rides and trying out the snowshoes. It’s been good fun.”

Families came out to the Kiwanis Oval Area to enjoy ice skating, cross country skiing, a scavenger event, snow art and other activities during the annual event.

“It doesn’t seem to matter how cold it gets every year,” Froese said.

“Sometimes you just got to bundle up, get out there and get some fresh air.”

She said she looks forward most to the hot chocolate and the big fire in the gazebo’s fireplace.

In front of the fire place, First Nations storyteller Rodger Ross stood and told stories to some of the kids.

He said it was warmer during last year’s Winterfest, but he still loves the valley and the roaring fire.

“A lot of the stories I’ve managed to put together over the years came from different communities, sitting down with old people and listening to them and hearing it time and time again,” Ross said.

He’s from Gordons First Nation. Ross said there was an elderly man there who would tell stories.

“You want to capture people’s imaginations. You want to bring the best that you can bring when you start to put it to pen. The difference is, I don’t write it down. The only way that we get our stories is by sitting with them,” Ross said.

He said he was telling stories about little people. He also has creation stories and trickster stories.

He sees it as an opportunity to showcase First Nations culture.

“Kids get it,” Ross said.

He said even if kids aren’t paying attention at the start, they get invested in the story’s direction.

“There’s the energy that you put into the story. It has a spirit of its own. When you can get to that level of sharing that story, the kids get it. They get immersed it and they’re waiting for the outcome,” Ross said.

Luda Tomas brought her daughter Alexandra. They were having fun despite the cold.

“We went on the horse ride and then we roasted marshmallows,” Tomas said.

Roasting marshmallows was her favourite activity of the day.

Four-year-old Declan Halsall strapped on snowshoes for the first time Sunday afternoon. His dad Rob said they’ve been to a few of the previous Winterfests.

“He loves it. It’s good. The cold doesn’t seem to be bothering him,” Rob said.

He said it’s a great opportunity to spend some time with family without going on vacation.

Organizations: First Nations, Wakamow Valley Authority

Geographic location: Kiwanis Oval Area

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