Bring on the snow.
Huntsville hasn’t had a winter carnival for many years, but the Huntsville Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce is hoping to bring a new snow-filled, carnival-like event to downtown Huntsville in February.
The already-planned OFSAA Nordic ski championships will bring more than 800 high school students from across the province to compete in both downtown Huntsville and Arrowhead Provincial Park from Feb. 20-22, 2020. Main Street and some of the roads adjacent to River Mill Park will be covered with snow to create a cross-country ski course for races on Friday, Feb. 21. The Chamber’s executive director, Kelly Haywood, presented an idea to Huntsville’s Community Services Committee on Dec. 12 to piggyback on that event to host a winter celebration they are calling SnowFest, which would run Friday evening and all day Saturday.
“We will be developing a very significant marketing campaign around winter activity,” said Haywood, adding that they would be working with partners like Arrowhead, Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area, and Algonquin Outfitters to provide a variety of activities and entertainment during SnowFest. While details are still in the works, Haywood said that activities could include Nordic skiing, tobogganing, a zipline down Main Street, a small terrain park with rails from the ski hill along with freestyle ski demonstrations, a provincial fat bike race, buskers, and the Hot Toddy Trail, a cocktail crawl by horse and carriage.
The Chamber has applied to a new fund available through the Huntsville Municipal Accommodation Tax Association to help support the cost of the event.
“But we need the snow to stay [on the street]and that’s what we’re here to ask for today,” Haywood told committee.
The Town’s director of operations and protective services, Steve Hernen, noted that staff have been working with HHS teacher John Cowan, who is organizing the OFSAA event, about the logistics of placing and removing the snow, and that part of the requirement for the event is that organizers have both equipment and operators on hand 24-7 to quickly clear the snow if needed in case of emergency. He said that if the snow were to remain in place longer for the Chamber-organized event, they would need to ensure the same arrangements are in place.
Committee approved the road and parking lot closures for the Chamber event, which would run into Sunday, February 23 to allow time for snow removal and which would include Main Street from Centre Street to Brunel Road, West Street North from Main to Dara Howell Way, King Street, Dara Howell Way, the River Mill Park parking lot, and part of the Royal Bank parking lot.
The Chamber will still need to submit a special event permit application to the Town for approval.
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