© Jack Frost Festival
Jack Frost inspecting his Bell Aliant Snow Kingdom on the eve of The Jack Frost Children's WinterFest.
Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd. steps in to co-ordinate the event
If there's anything folks with the Confederation Bridge know about, it's snow and ice.
After a one-year absence, Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd. has jumped into rescue the Jack Frost Children's Winter Festival.
The City of Charlottetown decided after the 2012 festival that it was just too hard to assume all the financial risk. When no one came forward to operate it, the city replaced it with a much smaller event.
With the help of $100,000 from both the provincial government and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), High Road Events Ltd., a subsidiary of Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd., is pumping more than $500,000 worth of cash into reviving it.
And things get underway Friday at 5 p.m. at the Charlottetown Event Grounds for people who purchased the VIP tickets. Gates open for general admission an hour later.
"We liked the challenge (and) we felt it was our duty to make sure that the event is here for families to enjoy,'' said Laurel Lea, project manager for High Road Events Inc. "It is a slow time of year . . . a slow time for tourism. We want to give people a reason to come here . . . (create) an influx of dollars into the tourism season at this slow time.''
Ticket sales over the past three days have picked up substantially, especially after Environment Canada forecast temperatures no colder than -7 Celsius.
"Our numbers have been increasing dramatically in the last 72 hours,'' Lea said, noting that they're on track to sell about 40 per cent of tickets to people out of province.
Island Coastal has been working around the clock over the past few weeks to get the massive snow slides ready while Bell Aliant came on board to cover the cost of building the Snow Kingdom.
The Canadian Snow Sculpting Team has been working to transform the concert grounds into a winter wonderland complete with a maze, skating rink, old-fashioned horse and sleigh rides and a CAT tube run.
Activities will also be taking place at Eastlink Centre and trade centre — bouncies, petting zoo, photography booth, and more — as well as the Confederation Court Mall with things like the princess boutique.
It is estimated the event will pump $1.5 million into the local economy, filling up hotel rooms and putting people in restaurants.
The capital city is contributing $26,000 in cash to Jack Frost as well as $30,000 in-kind, providing things like event fencing, garbage cans, décor, snowflake decorations and a variety of other services.
The one and only Sesame Street live touring production out of the United States is one of the highlights of the event.