Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Warm Up To winterPLAY 2013

There are events I look forward to every year in this community. Many of them revolve around a little organization called "Events Wood Buffalo", a group I have been proud to work with on more than one occasion. I have volunteered at interPLAY and Canada Rocks, and their annual end-of-summer festival on Labour Day Weekend. Last week I attended the press conference announcing the line-up for this year's winterPLAY, the annual celebration of winter in this northern region, and I am way past excited. I'm sort of into gleeful, really.

There is a stretch in this community when even though the days are getting longer and the nights shorter it seems winter will never end. There seems to be little to be enthused about, temperatures often lower than we would like, and snow piling up around us. It is a time when we need something to be excited about, to get us out of our houses and into our community, spending time with others and enjoying life, cold as the outdoors may be - and that's where winterPLAY comes in.

This year winterPLAY will run from Feb 14-Feb 24, ten days of entertainment and fun and community. There are some highlights I am truly anticipating, like seeing the Irish Descendents (I recently mentioned I am writing a book, and it just *might* be about a little emerald island that changed my life three years ago - to say I have a wee fondness for all things Irish is like saying the Pope is a little bit Catholic). Shane Koyczan, who you may recall from the Olympic opening ceremonies in Vancouver, will be visiting us and joining one of my favourite local magazines, NorthWord, in a celebration of the written word as  he helps them launch  their latest issue "Fire" (an issue in which is published the very first poem I have ever submitted for publication, and the first poem I have written since high school). My pals Toddske and Tito over at YMMPodcast have several things going on with winterPLAY too, like a night of hockey-themed entertainment entitled "Hockey Goons and Puck Bunnies", and featuring locally born but rising musical star Amy Heffernan. There is a comedy night, and a Newfoundland Kitchen Party, and the Shootout on the Snye, and a family ski day and...well, it goes on and on. There is even a night of burlesque I plan to attend as I missed it last year due to another commitment (and when invited to it by a friend on Twitter I cleverly replied I was "tied up" for the evening, which I thought was rather funny but apparently raised a few eyebrows due to the nature of burlesque - I can't help it, people, like Popeye I yam what I yam).

The great thing about winterPLAY is that there is something for everyone, no matter what you are interested in. It's pretty comprehensive, and it brings some amazing entertainment right here to us in Fort McMurray. The other great thing about it is the Events Wood Buffalo team, people I have worked alongside more than once and of whom I have become ridiculously fond as a result. They work their butts off to pull events like this together, and they need just one thing to make it a success - you.

At the end of this post is a link to the new winterPLAY website, where you can get all the details. There are also a couple of videos that get me all quivery with excitement. And in the end all I can say is that this year from Valentine's Day until February 24th you will find me wherever the winterPLAY events are, since I plan to hit as many as humanly possible. The days are short, the nights are long, and some days it seems winter will just not end - so instead of dreading it let's celebrate it with a festival right here in Wood Buffalo, and put some warmth back into those cold days.

You can find the winterPLAY 2013 events here

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