The Jack Frost Children’s Winterfest was nothing short of what organizers could have wished for this year.
Great weather and large crowds filled the two sites through the weekend as organizers estimated attendance numbers similar to last year’s approximate 10,000.
Project manager Laurel Lee said while organizers were nervous in the middle of January, the past month’s heavy snowfalls put the festival over the top.
That combined with relatively mild weather this past weekend to draw in large crowds of families.
“Mother Nature has been very generous and we’ve made quick work of her snow to turn this into a magical snow kingdom,” said Lee. “It’s been nothing short of everything we could have dreamed of for this year.
“We won’t have any official numbers until the box office closes out tomorrow (Monday) morning but I feel confident in saying the numbers will be similar to, if not better, than last year.”
Hotels in Charlottetown also saw large numbers through the weekend, with organizers estimating about 40 per cent of attendees being from outside P.E.I.
“This is unique in the region as it’s the largest children’s festival east of Quebec,” said Lee. “It is a draw for the region and does drive tourism to Prince Edward Island this time of year.”
While the outdoor snow kingdom saw many slides and ice sculptures, EastLink Centre Arena and Trade Centre housed the Glow Parties Indoor Playland.
That saw a number of Imagination Movers performances, inflatables, a petting zoo and busker performances.
Peter Vogelaar, one of the festival’s two head sculptors, said the past two weeks were spent building the many sculptures as well as other structures like the site’s giant igloo.
Even through the festival’s three days, sculptors were still creating new works of art.
“We always like to do the demos, we can spend a little more time on details and respond to people’s questions,” said Vogelaar.
Having worked on Charlottetown’s winter festivals for the past 10 years, Vogelaar said this was one of the best yet for sculptors and their creations.
“The weather is just perfect, even though we had a couple warm days we haven’t had the battles like we’ve had in the past with flooding and collapses,” he said. “There’s a combination of the weather, good crowds and when everyone is happy it makes for a great festival.”