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CUP in Summerside hosting winter sports festival Jan. 18, 19

Chris Palmer, economic development and tourism minister, left, lets ‘Barbegazi,’ meaning winter beard, out from behind the curtain, where he is greeted with a fist bump from Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart following the event announcement at Credit Union Place, which will host the Barbegazi Winter Sports Festival from Jan. 18-19.
Chris Palmer, economic development and tourism minister, left, lets ‘Barbegazi,’ meaning winter beard, out from behind the curtain, where he is greeted with a fist bump from Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart following the event announcement at Credit Union Place, which will host the Barbegazi Winter Sports Festival from Jan. 18-19. - Millicent McKay

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - It’s an event that’s been years in the making.

This January, people of all ages can expect a new kind of community winter event at Credit Union Place: Barbegazi, a winter action sports festival, Jan. 18-19.

“It’s going to be a fantastic, free event for everyone,” said JP Desrosiers, director of community services with the City of Summerside.

“This is just the Year 1 of what we hope to have by 2020, 2021. In planning this event, we knew we wanted something bigger than just a regular community event.”

The event, to be held on the grounds of the CUP, is expected to cost about $100,000. The provincial government, under the office of tourism and economic development, has contributed $35,000 in funding.

“We also plan for sponsorship and the levee accommodations fund to help pay for the cost,” Desrosiers said.

The event, which runs Friday night into Saturday, is designed to encourage families to get out and experience new winter activities.

Now in its seventh year, Barbegazi is usually held in Montreal. This year it will also appear in Summerside and Denver, Colo.

is a big part of Canada, and especially P.E.I., where we know there can be some pretty harsh weather, so we wanted to bring a family-oriented event back to a small community,” said Nicolas Synnott, who is the event producer, with Tribu Expériential, the firm that developed the festival.

He said the firm has been working with the city and Credit Union Place for three years to bring the event to the Island.

“I was lucky enough to work on Hometown Hockey when it was here, so I’m excited to see Barbegazi here this year and hopefully continue to grow.

Some of the festival activities include fat biking (tires are significantly larger than regular size), axe-throwing, snow skate (skateboarding only for snow) and more.

“Barbegazi is about rediscovering the fun of winter with new sports and games,” Synnott said.

Chris Palmer, minister of economic development and tourism, is looking forward to the event.

“We’re hoping this weekend will sell out Summerside and will be a great resource for our tourism off-season. The Island, and Summerside, still has a lot to offer during the winter.”

The event will also use existing infrastructure.

“That means the fat bikes can take to the trails in Rotary Friendship Park. But, there’s also so much more to see and that this event will offer.”

For more information about Barbegazi Winter Festival, go to Cupevents.ca/SETS.

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