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Fire and Ice ... so nice!

The city's annual Fire and Ice Festival is ready for a Family Day of outdoor fun at Lacombe Lake Park.
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Joey Vedres, a fire artist with Indigo Circus, performs at St. Albert's Fire and Ice Festival at Lacombe Lake Park while community members look on. DAN RIEDLHUBER/St. Albert Gazette

DETAILS

Fire and Ice Festival

Noon to 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 17

Lacombe Lake Park, 5 minutes west of St. Albert Trail on McKenney Avenue

Please remember that all dogs must be on leash when outside of the designated dog park (as per the Animal Bylaw).

No parking on site, though accessibility parking will be available for those with mobility challenges. Free 'Park and Ride' service will be available from Bellerose Composite High School (49 Giroux Rd.) every 10 minutes starting at 11:50 a.m. Last bus leaves the festival at 4:40 p.m. Dogs will be permitted on the bus where and when space will allow. Visit ridestat.ca for more information.

Free admission. Donations accepted for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

*Please note this public advisory: due to the ice surface at Lacombe Lake being unsafe, the lake will not open for public use this season. 

Visit stalbert.ca/fire-ice for more information.

It’s almost time for moms, dads, and kids to bundle up and get those smiling faces ready for a community winter day out, all courtesy of your friendly neighbourhood St. Albert Firefighters Local 2130. Family Day is coming this long weekend, and that means the Fire and Ice Festival is nigh.

Horse-drawn wagons on snow. Kids crawling through tunnels of the obstacle course. The oohs and aahs of the crowds delighting and admiring the spectacular talents of the fire artists and the ice carver. Elsewhere on site, children giggle with glee with the furry, friendly animals of the petting zoo. There is a lot for people of all ages to smile at and enjoy.

All of that and more is what St. Albert’s Fire and Ice Festival is all about.

Organizer and firefighter Bryan Mroz is at the head of the tight crew that puts on this event for the love of the people of this city. Mroz himself loves to just walk around and observe the happiness that it brings. Sharing it all together means that everybody becomes one big family on that day.

“That's the best part. That's how we know that we're doing the right thing, and seeing the smiles makes it all worthwhile,” he said.

There are a lot of hours and a lot of meetings and phone calls that go into making Fire and Ice work together so smoothly that everything that day is pure joy.

You can be sure that he brings his own family along, too. Look for him and his other firefighting team all wearing their ‘turnout gear’. Being visible means that it’s easier for people to direct their appreciation.

“We always appreciate that thank you, as well.”

It’s hard to believe that the festival is only four hours long because there is so much packed into that afternoon span of time. Once you and your family get off of the bus – remember that it’s Park and Ride only (though with limited accessibility parking available for those with mobility challenges) – you might find yourself pulled in several different directions.

That’s why it’s probably best to know what to expect before you go. Look for these attractions and plan your visit accordingly:

  • Kids Firefighter Obstacle Course
  • Petting Zoo from Finnegan Farms
  • Fun crafts courtesy of Home Depot
  • Sleigh Rides provided by MP Stables
  • Cabane à Sucre courtesy of ACFA Régionale de Centralta
  • Temporary glitter tattoos from Sparkle Tattoo
  • Fire pits

Mroz thanked St. Albert's Save On Foods and Tim Hortons locations for providing the food and refreshments including hot dogs and hot coffee and hot chocolate, too. The firefighters’ budget is pretty tight but it’s always a bonus to have support from local businesses. He also gave a huge shout-out to St. Albert’s Home Depot for offering the craft station for the last three years.

“That’s always a huge hit. We have a heated tent for them so it always gives everybody a chance to warm up.”

With his wife and kids in tow, he hopes that this will be the first year that they can all take in the sleigh ride together.

“Before, I've never had a chance to enjoy it but now with the family I'm hoping to take a half an hour off and go around with them and do the activities. Before, it was always go, go, go.”

Of course, there’s more. The Fire and Ice Festival wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t offer performances that demonstrated both sides of the metaphorical coin of temperature. Look for performances by fire artist Indigo Circus at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. while ice sculptor Barry Collier of Ice Works will be working on a frozen creation of wonder for the crowd throughout the afternoon.

While it’s still most of a week away, the forecast does seem to predict a relatively mild day for Monday, which will hopefully drive up the attendance and the frolicking during the Fire and Ice Festival. At the very least, it should be better than 2019, which Mroz said was the coldest event he and Firefighters Local 2130 have hosted by far.

“All the other years, we've been lucky. It's been in that -5 C to +5 C range.”

Because of the recent mild weather, the city has issued a public advisory. Due to the ice surface at Lacombe Lake being unsafe, the lake will not open for public use this season.


Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
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