What a weekend!

Lakeland communities took advantage of the beautiful weather to offer all kinds of activities leading up to the Family Day holiday on Monday.

Events were prudently planned to take the unpredictability of weather into account: there were plenty of indoor activities for people to enjoy regardless of temperature or precipitation. 

But the sunshine was the star of the show.

St. Paul’s annual Shiver Fest began on Thursday. Swimming, bowling, movies, curling, and other indoor activities were balanced by cookies and coffee at Lions Park, tobogganing at Lagasse Park, and a trout derby at St. Paul fish pond. 

Shiver Fest activities also extended into Elk Point and St. Lina.

Vezeau Beach was the place to be for Bonnyville residents on Sunday with skating, jam pail curling, ice fishing, sleigh rides, and snacks by a hot fire. 

And Cold Lake’s annual Snow Fever festival included fun at Kinosoo Ridge in the M.D. of Bonnyville on Saturday; indoor and outdoor events in and around the Energy Centre on Sunday; and Family Day activities at 4 Wing on Monday.

There were other outdoor events on the weekend not directly related to the Family Day holiday. The Cold Lake Ice Fishing Tournament, a major fundraiser for Age Friendly Cold Lake, ran from Friday to Sunday; and the Lakeland Cross-Country Ski Club offered free use of equipment for anyone wanting to try out the trails at St. Paul golf course.

Alberta was the first province to introduce a holiday in February, when the Don Getty government introduced Family Day in 1990. 

The idea was met with some confusion and a little bit of controversy. While the idea of a holiday in February was popular, some people wondered about the value of a day off in a typically frigid time of year.

Employers were concerned about the costs business would have to bear with an additional statutory holiday.

Eventually a compromise was reached wherein bosses and employees could recognize either Family Day or the August long weekend as an official statutory holiday.

Kids had fun sliding down the snow embankment at Thomas Varughese Field in Cold Lake on Sunday. JEFF GAYE
There were a variety of activities offered at Kinosoo Ridge, Vezeau Beach, Thomas Varughese Field, and other venues throughout the weekend.  JEFF GAYE

Wagon rides are popular with all ages on Family Day. Réal and Norm arrived with their team at Vezeau Beach Sunday to start the fun. JEFF GAYE