Gull Lake’s First Annual Family Day Winterfest

BY BARBARA MACKELLAR
Be sure to mark Feb. 16 on your calendars! Gull Lake’s first annual Family Day Winterfest promises to be a day to remember.

“The Town’s Event Planning Committee is working hard trying to put together a unique annual event for Gull Lake,” said Mayor Campbell. “The day will have something for everyone from kids to seniors and everyone in between. Start your day with a pancake brunch at the Community Hall. You can even come out and watch how we play baseball in Saskatchewan in February – better known as Snow Pitch.”

The festival will kick off with brunch from 10:30 AM to 12 noon for only $5 per person, except for perschoolers, who get to eat for free. Late comers can head to the rink booth for lunch. The Snow PItch Tourney will begin after brunch, with a maximum of six teams competing from 12 noon to 5 PM. The cost is $50 per team, with a 3-game guarantee.

There’ll be more outdoor fun starting at 12:30 PM with skating all afternoon in Little Green on the Prairie Park, sleigh rides with driver Brent Pederson that leave the Gull Lake Rink about every 15 minutes, and kids’ snow games, hot chocolate, apple cider and maple taffy at the ball diamond.

Those who have never had the pleasure of tasting maple taffy are in for a big treat. “I’ve ordered Grade B maple syrup from Quebec — the good stuff!” said Marc Ruel, whose idea it was to present this Eastern Canadian custom at Winterfest.

“I come from Maillardville, B.C. and every year we have the Festival du Bois, which is a French Canadian tradition. One of the big draws is still the maple sugar huts, the cabane à sucre, and that’s where they make the maple sugar candy. Just like I’ll be making it, in big pots.”

The candy is made by boiling the syrup from sugar maple trees, pouring it onto clean snow where it quickly hardens if boiled to a hot enough temperature, and then lifting it with a small wooden stick or a metal dinner fork. The higher the temperature, the thicker the candy will be. If the syrup is too soft, it can be boiled again until it reaches about 112 °C.

Making maple taffy is part of traditional culture in Quebec, Northern Ontario, Manitoba and New England. “Tire d’érable – “pulling syrup on the snow” – is a little taste of my home, which is also a little taste of back east. My grandparents were raised in Saskatchewan and held on to their French Canadian traditions. We’re trying to build this in future years.” For those who enjoy browsing and other indoor activities, there will also be a mini craft fair from noon to 3 PM and bingo and tea from 1:30-2:30 PM in the Gull Lake Community Hall.

‘Lastly,” said Mayor Campbell, “wind up the day with a Beef on a Bun supper and then come out and watch the fireworks show.”
Volunteers will be serving up the tasty Beef on a Bun supper with baked beans and coleslaw in the Gull Lake Community Centre at $10 for adults and $5 for 12 and under. Pre-schoolers eat for free. The fireworks show will be held at the ball diamond starting at 8 PM.

To sign up for the Snow Pitch Tourney or to book one of the 12 craft fair tables, please register ahead of time with Sara Kuntz at the Rec Office at 672-4449.

Article Compliments of The Gull Lake ADVANCE

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