Amherst may be new to hosting winter carnivals, but they are acing it.
More than 100 events will be crammed into six days of February for the fourth annual winter carnival here. Themed ‘Celebrating Heart, Culture & Play,’ the opportunities to enjoy winter inside and out will be plenty.
“There is 102 activities and this is largely because of all of the community organizations, businesses and volunteers that have stepped up and said ‘Yes, I will do something to make winter carnival awesome,’” Rebecca Taylor, Amherst’s Culture, Tourism and Marketing Officer, said. “This year the culture piece is the most significant change that we’ve added. We’ve always had outdoor play… but this year the culture piece has brought in art workshops and we have four theatre productions.”
In short, Taylor says, when things get started Feb. 13th, you will have to work hard to say there was nothing to do.
“This is the kind of winter carnival where there is ample opportunity to enjoy outdoor winter activities as well as indoor activities, so no excuse to have cabin fever,” Taylor said.
Daily schedule updates will start to appear on the Town of Amherst’s Facebook account and Twitter @TownofAmherstNS, but a shortlist of highlights include an entrepreneur workshop, cooking classes, coffee house, family swims, a hypnotism and comedy show featuring Ed Ratelle, art workshops, Flag Day ceremony, bingo, indoor walking challenges and the return of an annual favourite.
“On Saturday, Feb. 17, we’re bringing back our Chili Challenge. That was a hugely popular event last year,” Taylor said.
While the public taste-tests their way through the 2018 entries at Dayle’s Grand Market, they will also be able to participate in intro classes to Harmony Tae Kwon-Do and Tai Chi on the top floor of Dayle’s.
Dog lovers will also be able to enjoy the community’s pilot dog park with a play day Sunday, Feb. 18. A doggie social with Dogs To Divas will not only see the dog park at the Robb’s Complex turn into a winter themed course, but will also help raise funds for the Lillian Allbon Animal Shelter who will be on hand selling chili and hot chocolate.
There will be some ticket events, like the hypnotist show, theatre productions and chocolate and wine tasting at the Apothic Inn, but the lion’s share of things to do are free for all to enjoy.
The new events, partnerships and fun coming to this year’s winter carnival is a testament to the community will to have fun.
“It’s just so cool to see everybody in the community is excited about making this a really great winter carnival and is willing to step up and volunteer their time and creative way of thinking,” Taylor said.