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Changes coming to Castlegar’s Winterfest

It’s not officially fall yet, but Castlegar city council is already thinking about Winterfest. Changes are coming to the annual pre-Christmas celebration, including moving the event from the evening to the daytime.

“It’s time to re-invent it,” acting mayor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff said this week. “What do we want Winterfest to look like or accomplish for the city?”

Traditionally the event has included a Santa Claus parade, parade of lights, tree lighting, performers, and vendors on a Friday evening, although it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Last year there was a Breakfast with Santa event and free public swim and skate.

Heaton-Sherstobitoff said rising insurance costs are making it harder to host events after dark.

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The event has been organized by the City of Castlegar, Chamber of Commerce, and recreation commission, but Heaton-Sherstobitoff said it’s key that they find other community organizations willing to help put it on.

“We don’t have the manpower as a city to do it anymore,” she said.

The Stanley Humphries grad class or Interact club were suggested as possible groups that could be tapped.

Asked what they would like to see, councillor Cherryl MacLeod said she would like the parade and Santa meet-and-greet maintained.

“Nothing brings the community out more than a parade, but being on the Sunfest committee I know what a huge undertaking it is to put one on,” she said.

“I’m all about the food,” quipped councillor Shirley Falstead.

Councillor Brian Bogle said he would like the event held during the day on the weekend. “Small children are not necessarily quite as grumpy as they are in the evening,” he joked. “Only speaking from my own experience.”

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