PA Winter Festival has proud history

by Ruth Griffiths

We are well into the home stretch for the 2017 Prince Albert Winter Festival. It’s one of the longest running festivals in Canada, celebrating local talent and the traditional northern lifestyle.

In its beginning, in 1965, Prince Albert Winter Festival events were held on the North Saskatchewan River. When the ice creaked and groaned, it added to the excitement of being on the river. Sadly, because of fluctuations in water levels, the ice is no longer safe for hosting the festival events.

Over the years, Winter Festival has been held at Little Red River Park, in a field south of Marquis Drive and, most recently, at the Alfred Jenkins Field House on 10th Avenue West. The addition of indoor activities for children, the Kidz Fun Zone, has made this a popular venue.

I recall watching the King Trapper events in Memorial Square at City Hall. Contestants dressed in fur hats and buckskin jackets hauled flour, made bannock and chopped logs for prizes and a title. The moose-calling competition was educational and entertaining. This year, the traditional trapper events will be held at the Alfred Jenkins Field House on Saturday and Sunday. Check the schedule at

Most of the outdoor events are free of charge but you need to wear a Winter Festival button. The logo on the button has traditionally been a representation of a sled dog, but this year it celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday with a maple leaf. The WF button is quite attractive and costs only $3. Many people have been collecting the buttons for decades.

The cold fresh air will improve your appetite for the Fish Fry that begins Friday night and continues Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Alfred Jenkins Field House. Fish and chips is $10 per plate.

So lace up your mukluks, zip up your parka and head out to the winter festival. See you there!