Sunday, January 29, 2017

Fire and Ice Festival Bracebridge

With a snow squall settling into cottage country the downtown Bracebridge winter festival filled the streets with families enjoying the fun of the second annual Fire and Ice Festival. At the end of January the above seasonal temperatures put a halt to the outdoor skating at the Memorial Park winter village but also made it easier to enjoy the day's activities.
Finally getting to the top of the run with your tube

Held on the last Saturday of January, in this case January 28, 2017, the crowds lining Manitoba Street made the lineups for the Downtown Tube Run extend into one and a half hours. The snow was trucked in on Friday night and the downhill course was setup and ready to go for the next day. You lined up from the top of the slope and went downhill to the base of the run to pick up your tube, then headed back up the street to get on the run. The idea of hurtling down an actual main street in Bracebridge, tucked into a tube, and coming to a safe stop was what brought us to the festival.
The Fire Guy puts on a show somewhere in the crowd

It was so busy they ran out of the souvenir passport buttons and instead your $5 fee went to a purple wrist band. Like many things, the popularity of the event made it difficult to take part in the activities as crowds would easily overwhelm the performers like the Fire Guy and the Winter Magic Show. And as much as I wanted to go down the tube run I wasn't going to wait over an hour for the experience. The organizers really need to consider elevated stages so more people can watch the performances.
A comforting fire pit
Still there were many fire pits placed around the streets to warm your fingers and take a break from walking the main street. Children could roast marshmallows and enjoy hot chocolate and their was a beer garden to enjoy some adult beverages. Instead of skating around the park they brought out big tired bicycles that whipped around the snow covered path. If you wanted to skate the Memorial Arena was also open to family skating at night.
We left without seeing the Hillbilly Olympics hosted by Dad's of Muskoka and the Fireworks hosted by the Bracebridge Rotary Club. See more of the festival after the jump.

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