South Peace News
January is almost over and – hopefully – the freezing temperatures are passing us, too.
After a busy Christmas season in December with many community events, the schedule of events pretty well shuts down in January.
However, activities pick up in February with plenty to do as we wait for the end of winter.
Family Day returns Feb. 17 as the weekend usually marks the first community events of the year. The big special event in the Peace region that weekend is the popular 38th annual Carnaval de St-Isidore at the Centre culturel de St-Isidore.
Francophone culture of the region is in the spotlight for three days, with a full day of activities from Friday to Sunday, although Saturday is usually the main day.
Another ethnic experience is in High Prairie where local residents with roots in the Philippines host an annual Valentine’s Party on Saturday of the long weekend.
The Family Day weekend, Feb. 14-17 has plenty of fun for families and people of all ages and cultures.
People in communities in the Peace and all over the province will gather for a variety of activities. Many organizations usually activities such as a pancake breakfast, hotdog or wiener roast, skating, fun in the snow such as tobogganing down a pile of snow or hill, or even a dip in warm swimming pool.
For those more adventurous, the Ice Fishing Festival in Joussard on the weekend runs in conjunction with Alberta’s annual Free Family Fishing Weekend.
As winter winds down, skating clubs present their year-end shows. Watching the youngest skaters always seems to draw some of the loudest applause for the audience at skating shows in communities like Peace River, Grimshaw, High Prairie and Donnelly.
The annual Alberta Pond Hockey Championships set for March 6-8 in Lac Cardinal Provincial Park is another big event in the Peace.
The North Peace Performing Arts Festival returns March 1-14 in the Peace River area. Music programs and talent from schools and community organization take place with awards presented to top musicians.
Many cultural, dance and live theatre organizations in the region are also known to stage great performances at their own events in late winter.
The Ukrainian Cultural Society of High Prairie presents the 42nd annual Zabava on Feb. 29 by the High Prairie Zirka Dancers. Those outfits are certainly colourful.
After last week’s deep freeze with temperatures around -40C with the wind chill, most people say the warmer weather can’t come soon enough.
Look on the bright side; and warmer side. Daylight Saving Time starts March 8 and we gain an extra hour of daylight.
March 19 the first day of spring.
Before that, we’ll have to find out what the popular prognosticator says on Groundhog Day on Feb. 2. The tradition states if the groundhog emerges from its burrow on and sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks.
If it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early.
While the tradition remains popular in modern times in Canada and the United States, studies show the legend is not an accurate indicator of the length of winter.
Only time will tell.