Mount Pearl residents and visitors to the city will have the opportunity to take part in more than 80 events this year during the 37th annual Frosty Festival, which runs from February 6 to 17.
A launch ceremony, highlighting some of those events, was held at the Reid Community Centre last week and emceed by Sharon Snow of NTV.
“The Mount Pearl Frosty Festival offers a quality package of diverse entertainment that caters to all demographics,” Snow said. “Some events, of course, are ticketed, and many of them are free of charge… Of course, as you can appreciate, these events are expected to sell out quickly. Don't be disappointed. Get your tickets early.”
The festival, the largest winter fete in Atlantic Canada, is supported by the City of Mount Pearl and run by a volunteer board of directors, who draw on the talents and energy of some 500 volunteers to carry off all the events.
“And that is incredible,” said Snow. “We talked about the community and the spirit of community that people feel living in Mount Pearl. You can you can feel it. And that's where that 500 plus volunteers come from. They're happy to be a part of this and they continue to be a part of it and help support the city.”
Festival chairman Wayne Andrews thanked the big crowd of residents and volunteers who showed up forthe announcement, including many past chairpersons of the event.
“I recognize everyone is busy and I appreciate that you decided to spend your lunch hour with us,” Andrews said. “The festival is an independent volunteer driven organization that has been working hard and meeting regularly since last year's festival to bring you more than 80 events over 12 days.”
Andrews also thanked all the members of this year’s board, the two public relations staff involved and the representatives of some 30 community groups who are also involved in the organization of the event. “Thank you as well to our partner, the City of Mount Pearl, council, staff for your support, guidance, direction and generosity,” Andrews said. “We honestly couldn't do this without you. I'd also like to recognize and thank our many corporate sponsors and government partners for joining us today and for your continued unwavering support… Your generosity allows us to provide your winter festival that is accessible to as many people as possible. And where possible free of charge.”
Andrews said some of the sponsors have been with the festival since day one.
“And while the festival happens about Pearl, we certainly invite people from across the province to experience the festival and our hospitality,” Andrews added. “Last year, we were fortunate to have attendees come from across the province, from Barrie, Ontario, from Greenwood, Nova Scotia as well as Florida and beyond to participate in our events… Again, with more than 80 events in 12 days, we strive to ensure there's something for everyone to enjoy, no matter your age, your background or your interest. We are proud to partner as well with Inclusion NL to ensure that we can accommodate all individuals to participate in our festival. We are striving to make the festival fully accessible and inclusive.”
Before concluding, Andrews said he wanted to announce an exciting new feature of the festival this year, one that gives back to the youth in the community, whose participation has been a fixture of the festival since its inception. “On behalf of the Board of Directors I'm pleased to announce we will be doing so by offering the Mount Pearl Frosty Festival Community Service Scholarship,” said Andrews thanking the principals and vice principals of Mount Pearl Senior High and O’Donel High for coming to hear the announcement. “The Mount Pearl Frosty Festival is committing approximately $35,000 over the next 10 years to fund two scholarships.”
Andrew said every year a student from each school will be awarded the scholarship. “Scholarships will be awarded to high school graduates enrolled in a first-year program at a post secondary institution. Applicants will be assessed based on volunteerism, community service, and academic ability,” Andrews said. “Without community spirit and volunteerism, the Frosty Festival would not exist. We count on volunteers to run successful events. Because people in our community have given so much to us, we knew its important to invest in the next generation who hold community close to heart. We look forward to announcing our first recipients and those for years to come.”
Mayor Dave Aker thanked Andrews and his board and volunteers they have put into organizing this year’s festival, work, which he noted, actually began with the conclusion of last year’s festivities. “I think the 2019 festival is going to be as big and better than ever and I'm really glad that the festival is so inclusive,” Aker said.
“One of my favorite events is where we go to the seniors’ homes and we entertain and bring the festival to our seniors and kudos to you for carrying on that tradition,” the mayor added. “The culture of this city is based on things like City Days, it's based on things like our sports organizations and our church organizations. But it's also fundamentally based in winter. It's based on the Frosty Festival. It's a time for everybody to come together, we can socialize, have fun, and get fit.”
Aker too thanked the many sponsors, government partners and his colleagues on council as well as City staff for their contribution to the festival. He noted the government partners are involved for a good reason – the economic benefits the festival brings to the region.
“This would never happen Wayne (Andrews) without your board of directors,” said Aker. “And I'm glad you recognized each and everyone. I want you to know from our heart to yours that we're really, really proud of all the energy that's on the board of directors and especially you for not only organizing a very strong board of directors to ensure the festival is every success, but also all the volunteers that you attract. We could never do it without the volunteers, the Board of Directors as well as the sponsors.”