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Rain doesn't stop Maritime families from attending Jack Frost Winterfest

The snow kingdom at the annual Jack Frost Winterfest keeps one Glace Bay family coming back every year.

Brandi MacDonald started going to the Charlottetown festival five years ago when her son Cohen was just two-years-old.

“It’s a good way to break up a long winter,” said MacDonald. “It’s a great way to get outdoors. We don’t have anything like this in Nova Scotia.”

This year she brought her friends with their children.

“It was well worth the travel, it was awesome,” said Melody Wall of Glace Bay. “Especially the sledding.”

Thousands of people attended the 2019 Jack Frost Winterfest held from Feb. 15 to 18.

Children’s faces lit up as they slid on their bellies on crystal-like ice slides and watched in amazement as ice blocks turned into animals before their eyes.

“I loved it here and I get to be with my best friends,” said eight-year-old Sam Gilmet, Wall’s daughter.

Outdoor activities at the snow kingdom were cancelled on Saturday due to rain.

Wayne Long, events development officer with the City of Charlottetown, said safety was the main factor in the decision.

“Public safety is paramount and of course second to that is ensuring that you can preserve the outdoor elements themselves,” he said.

Snow structures were protected with tarps.

Long said the weekend’s overall attendance was not affected by the rain because of the number of indoor activities.

He said attendance was on par or better than last year’s festival.

The weather also didn’t stop the evening’s outdoor activities on Victoria Row and Queen Street on Saturday.

Aurora: A Downtown Charlottetown Experience presented by The Guardian and the City of Charlottetown saw roughly 3,000 people for its evening of live ice and snow sculpting, snowboarding assisted by Snowboard P.E.I., a DJ, and a pyrotechnics display.

It is the second year for the night event.

“The ambience and the moving about of people was very, very high energy and well-received,” said Long.

New this year was an Islander Day component to the festival.

The festival partnered with the City of Charlottetown to make the event even more affordable for Islanders on Islander Day.

The first 1,000 Charlottetown residents could enter the snow kingdom for free and Island residents would get in for $5.

“It’s Islander Day so why not give back to Islanders,” said Long. “The snow kingdom is the only component of the festival that is open on Islander Day and we want to encourage people to be outside not only to enjoy the festival but to celebrate Islander Day and embrace the best of our winter.”

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