New winter festival a celebration of ice

By Angelica Ingram

Jan. 10 2017

The Hardwater Festival coming to Haliburton at the end of January will be a marriage of fun and ice act ivities for all ages.

Taking place on Jan. 28 in West Guilford the event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with many offerings costing little or nothing at all.

An initiative of the municipality of Dysart the festival is being presented by the Explore our Lakes project said co-ordinator Barrie Martin.

Dysart recreation co-ordinator Andrea Mueller said the committee wanted to ensure it focused on the use of the lakes year round.

“Our initial thought was to offer ice fishing and an ice safety course but the more we discussed our ideas the more we realized hosting an ice festival was the way to proceed” said Mueller in an email to the Echo .

The West Guilford location is ideal because it has the community centre local lakes outdoor skating and Medeba where ice climbing will be offered.

“It gets it out of town” said Martin.

The Explore our Lakes initiative began last year with some summer events and the municipality wanted to continue the momentum with some winter-based programming.

“One of the learning objectives is to foster safe use of the lakes” said Martin.

The day-long event will include some ice awareness presentations as well as a full-day working and playing on ice safety training course.

The course is being facilitated by the Wilderness Training Institute and will include a classroom portion as well as outdoor ice rescue techniques and more.

In addition to the safety component of the day there will be ice skating outdoors ice climbing (must be 14 or older) ice fishing demonstrations indoor movies ice crafts for kids broomball and more. A hot lunch will be provided for a nominal cost.

During the day an ice sculpture will be created by a Canadian renowned sculpture artist. The hope is to display the final product at the Haliburton Frost Festival in February.

Martin is hoping the festival will also include some information about ice ecology and a ice hut/fishing demonstration.

A new initiative to be introduced at the festival is something called snow tagging which has been done in provincial parks said Martin.

The activity which includes drones and making art in the snow will take place at Abbey Gardens.

“What you do is snowshoe out the art” said Martin. “Then you have a drone that will take pictures.”

More info will be available at the event.

The co-ordinator is hoping the festival draws a couple hundred people.

Mueller is hoping it becomes an annual event.

“There are so many activities taking place that are both fun and educational. Barrie Martin and Kate Hall have really embraced the theme of the festival and have something for everyone to try” she said.

“There are quite a few events happening around the county on Saturday Jan. 28 and I believe that the Hardwater Festival will complement these events.”

Anyone interested in the ice safety training course must sign up ahead of Jan. 28. It is being offered for a special rate of $125 plus HST.

In order to help organizers prepare for the event preregister by visiting or calling Dysart recreation co-ordinator Andrea Mueller at 705-457-1740 ext. 35.