Up West Winterfest to cure seasonal blahs

Eric McCarthy
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Up West Winterfest offers lots of indoor and outdoor fun for people all ages. Enjoying outdoor fun are, from left, Jazzlyn Smallman, Sarah Hart and Isaiah Dixon with Chantel Henderson, a volunteer with the Western P.E.I. Recreation Council's Learn-to-Snowshoe program.

WOODSTOCK — Have you had enough of winter yet? Well, the Up West Winterfest has some summer-themed events planned, even if they are played in the snow.

Take snow golf, for example. The objective is the same but a different ball — one that’s easier to find in the snow — is used, and the greens are white.

A nine-hole snow golf tournament will be held on the Mill River Provincial Golf Course this Saturday and Sunday there will also be a longest drive competition Saturday afternoon.

There’s also a snow pitch — that’s slow pitch but in the snow — ball tournament near the Provincial Parks West office. That starts Sunday morning.

Of course, there are lots of events that are all about celebrating winter in the wintertime.

Another special event on the opening weekend of the 10-day (Jan. 10 to 19) Up West Winterfest, is a resolution run. It will start and end at the Rodd Mill River Resort this Saturday. Runners are welcome to write their New Year’s resolution on their race bib for the 10 a.m. race.

Up West Winterfest is the provincial community events kickoff to PEI 2014 celebrations. PEI 2014 is a funding partner.

The Rodd Mill River Resort and Mill River Provincial Park play host to several festival events, including the Winter Feast and Winter Blast, an outdoor concert and an indoor after party on Jan. 18.

Winter Blast features Dennis Ellsworth, Meaghan Blanchard and Whitney Rose and the after party features Dylan Menzie, Robyn McRae and Julie Arsenault.

“One of the hardest things about the career that I am pursuing is living away from my home and family so I always enjoy coming to P.E.I. to perform … and getting to show off the Island to my band mates is always a proud moment,” said Rose, who is looking forward to everything 2014 brings.

“I couldn’t be happier to be kicking it off back home.”

Winter Feast is, of course, a culinary event, which is taking place at Rodd Mill River Resort on Jan. 10 from 7 to 10 p.m.

After getting a few appetizers at the oyster bar, attendees will be treated to seafood chowder, stuffed pork tenderloin with vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. The dessert treat is chocolate fudge brownie. Entertainment will be provided by multi-instrumentalist and singer Robyn Perry.

Winter Blast, on Jan. 18, is an outdoor concert and fireworks show, presented by O’Leary Castle Building Centre, from 6 to 9 p.m., again at Rodd Mill River Resort. Tickets are still available for the concert. The fireworks, which wrap up the evening at 9:15 p.m., are free for everyone.

Ticket sales for the signature events are moving well, reports festival co-ordinator, Courtney McCue.

Tickets and schedules are available at various locations throughout West Prince, as well as online at www.upwestwinterfest.com.

The resort complex hosts an outdoor fun centre throughout the festival with discounted rental rates. There’s skiing, snowshoeing, skating and sliding. A second sliding hill is being added to accommodate the anticipated crowds.

The municipalities of Alberton, Tignish and O’Leary are also host communities for the festival with many community-based events planned.

Organizations: Rodd Mill River Resort, O’Leary Castle Building Centre

Geographic location: Mill River, P.E.I., Iceland West Prince

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