The Jack Frost Children’s Winterfest has returned to Charlottetown with a bang.
After being absent from the city last year, the annual winter festival saw its most ambitious year yet held on the weekend.
Giant outdoor slides, a maze, snow and ice sculptures were set up at the Charlottetown Event Grounds, while a number of inflatable castles and rides, face painting, cirque performers and other productions were put on at EastLink Centre.
Laurel Lea, project manager for the event, said the weekend was fantastic.
“The crowds have been amazing. Everyone has definitely embraced the return of Jack Frost Children’s Winterfest,” she said. “There are plenty of families out enjoying the festivities.”
It was the first time the festival was held at the event grounds, after previously finding homes at the former Sherwood Greens site and Victoria Park.
Lea said the new venue worked out “better than we could have imagined,” with more space to spread around the outdoor snow kingdom.
“It allows for better flow and better lineup control. We have a number of slides that wouldn’t have been possible at the former two locations,” she said. “It has alleviated the lineups that have plagued the event in the past and really allowed people the opportunity to just continually play in the snow kingdom.”
While temperatures were a little chilly through the weekend, the nasty weather from this winter held off for the festival.
However, with the unpredictability of the weather, there were many thrills available inside the Eastlink Centre just in case.
In fact, for Gracie MacKenzie the petting zoo inside the Trade Centre was the highlight of the weekend.
“My favourite part is the animals,” said the eight-year-old Stratford resident after feeding a number of goats at the petting zoo.
MacKenzie was at the event with her mother Tania and father Greg. The family spent the whole weekend seeing what the festival had to offer at both sites as well as the Princess Pretty Boutique and Music Camp at the Confederation Court Mall.
Having attended the festival at its previous location, Tania said she felt the new layout was a winner.
“Everything is pretty close to one another. I don’t think a lot of people realize with the bussing system you can just hop on and go,” she said. “It was quite convenient to park then hop on the bus to go back and forth (between the sites).”
“The crowds have been amazing," Laurel Lea, festival manager
For Marissa and Rachel McAvinn of Albany, even just a day pass offered a nice outing for the two.
“It’s been really good,” said Rachel while Marissa was having fun painting one of the snow kingdom’s walls. “She (Marissa) did all the bouncy houses and everything. We watched the juggler and the magic act.”
Another highlight for the event was the featured programming of Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music!
While Lea said numbers will be evaluated following the event, a good indicator was that all three performances of the Sesame Street show saw near-sellout crowds.
“We’ve tried our best to talk to as many families as we can to get feedback for how we can improve, what they liked and what they didn’t like. Almost every single comment we’ve gotten has been positive which is amazing,” said Lea, who also thanked the government, sponsors and industry partners. “We look forward to the event returning in the future.”