If baseball is one of the rites of spring, the Mount Pearl Frosty Festival has definitely been a rite of winter for more than three decades.
Started in 1983, the Frosty Festival is now in its 36th year offering a quality package of diverse entertainment that caters to all sectors of the population to encourage both indoor and outdoor activity during the winter. This year’s festival is slated for Feb. 7-18.
“This has grown into the largest winter festival in Atlantic Canada,” Keith White, chairman of the 36th annual Mount Pearl Frosty Festival said at the event’s launch on Thursday at the Reid Centre.
“This volunteer team, we are fortunate to have so many of them here in Mount Pearl,” he added.
White said there are more than 70 events slated for this year’s festival, a great cross-section of activities for young and old, and both indoor and outdoor events.
He said he is amazed at how much work the committee does to host 20 events, and is even more amazed at the work that goes into the 50-plus community groups and their volunteers that pull off the remainder of the events.
“We know how hard we work, so you know how hard they work,” he said.
He also commended the sponsors who make many of the more than 70-events free of charge to participants by their generosity.
The festival prides itself on keeping admission costs low to encourage maximum participation within the community and following a formula that continues to add to the success of the event.
First and foremost, the Mount Pearl Frosty Festival seeks to provide a yearly winter festival in the city by involving the community and local organizations in festival planning and programming.
By encouraging mass participation of residents in a festival atmosphere, Mount Pearl highlights its goals of being a healthy community in addition to being a hospitable and fun place to live and visit.
The Frosty symbol has become one that encourages fun and spirit of the community while also offering a sustainable approach to the management and financial structure of the festival through the hundreds of volunteers who give their time to support the event and give the city recognition and enhance camaraderie.
Someone who appreciates the activities and sense of community pride the Frosty Festival provides to Mount Pearl is Coun. Andrew Ledwell.
“I have literally grown up with Frosty. He is 36 and I am 37. He keeps getting bigger and well…,” he said while drawing attention to his advancing physique.
Ledwell said he was overwhelmed with the sense of community and engagement the festival gets from community groups and the hundreds of volunteers who come out to put events on annually.
Kathy Hawkins, manager of Inclusion NL, launched a partnership with the Mount Pearl Frosty Festival to increase the accessibility of festival events by announcing a new Inclusion line for those wishing to have a means of accessibility to a variety of events.
“We want to provide accessible transit so people can participate in the parade (Pedestrian Parade of Lights and Cauldron Lighting),” Hawkins said of the event that will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 7 from 6:30-8 p.m. starting at O’Donel High School.
“We are introducing the line so people can have access so they can text to 709-697-3323 or call toll-free to 1-844-517-1376 to request transportation. Accessibility and inclusion will grow and we are excited to be part of it,” she added.
Tickets go on sale for the multitude of events on Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. online. It is noted that the majority of the pay events tend to sell out quickly, so those who wish to participate in these activities are asked to go to www.frostyfestival.ca for a schedule of events and to purchase tickets.
One of those events that was profiled was a performance by Spirit of Newfoundland’s “Night of a Thousand Stars” that will be held from 7:30-9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9 at the Glacier.
Those who attended the announcement were treated to several performances from “Roy Orbison,” “Elton John” and “Neil Diamond” and a bit of comedy shtick prior to the performances.
In addition, a new Frosty Festival app was introduced and will be available to anyone wishing to get quick access to the schedule of events and additional information surrounding the festival, including short bios of those who are on board as sponsors.
“This is a progressive web app that will download easily,” said Don Coady, creative director of app designer DC Design House.
“There is no need to go to the app store to get it. On your browser, type in Frosty@.com and it should take you to the app.”
NTV’s Sharon Snow MCed the launch, which was also attended by MHA Mark Browne, MHA Paul Lane, MHA Jim Lester, members of Mount Pearl city council, sponsors and community leaders.
For more information, contact the Frosty Festival office at 748-6480.