PolarFest, Selwyn Township’s annual family winter festival, returns for three days beginning on Friday (February 2).
The 17th anniversary festival kicks off Friday with youth shinny hockey at the Ennismore Community Centre, stories and crafts at the Lakefield Library Centennial Room, a darts competition at the Canoe & Paddle in Lakefield, and authentic swiss cheese fondue and wine at Chemong Lodge in Bridgenorth.
In the evening, an official opening ceremony takes place lakeside at Chemong Lodge at 6:30 p.m. featuring a bonfire and free hot chocolate and coffee, with a fireworks show at 6:45 p.m.
A guided nature hike on the Lakefield trail starting at the Marshland Centre in Lakefield begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, with hot apple cider available after the hike.
At 8 p.m., Selwyn firefighters will face off against Peterborough police officers in the Guns & Hoses charity hockey game at the Ennismore Community Centre. Admission is by non-perishable food donation or cash donation, with proceeds split equally between the Lakefield Food Bank and the Bridgenorth Food Bank.
The fun continues on Saturday with the Lakefield Ice Sculpture Competition all day beginning at 9 a.m. at the Cenotaph Park in Lakefield. This year’s theme is “Canadiana” and you can cast your ballot for the People’s Choice Award, which will be presented to the winning carver at 5 p.m. at The Loon in Lakefield.
There will also be ice sculptures in Heritage Park in Bridgenorth beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with the Chemung Lake District Lions Club and the Bridgenorth Beautification Committee giving out free hot chocolate. Both of the ice sculpture activities in Lakefield and Bridgenorth will include coloured blocks for the kids to build their own ice creations.
The Bridgenorth Library will be hosting a scavenger hunt to find the library penguins and the Sewlyn Library Makerspace in Lakefield will be hosting a drop-in featuring tours, machine demos, family activities, and more. The Ennismore Youth Group will be hosting a winter craft activity, with hot chocolate, and Ennismore Optimist Hall. Visit the Canoe & Paddle on Saturday afternoon for some storytelling.
Adventure Outfitters will be hosting a Nordic Day on Saturday afternoon at the Ontario Speed Skating Oval in Lakefield, and there will be free public skating at the Lakefield-Smith Community Centre.
A PolarFest highlight on Saturday is the Polar Paddle at 1 p.m. in Lakefield, where competitors will race their canoes down Queen Street vying for a trophy and prizes in different divisions.
Saturday’s social activities include a retro apres ski party in the afternoon outside Chemong Lodge, featuring tunes form the ’80s and ’90s, an ice bar and booze luge, and prizes for the best-dressed person wearing throwback ski gear. The Lakefield Legion will be hosting the Winter Olympics Party at 1 p.m. with prizes to be won, and the Ice Ball all evening long featuring live music, icy cocktails, and charcuterie and canapes by The Cheesy Fromage and Angle Iron Kitchen (advance tickets are required). Also in the evening, the Canoe & Paddle will be hosting karaoke and cocktails.
Food options on Saturday include a free drive-through pancake breakast at the Causeway Christian Assembly in Ennismore, a family breakfast at the Canoe & Paddle in Lakefield, maple taffy outside of Stuff’d in Lakefield, a spaghetti dinner at Bridgenorth United Church with music from The Tarnished Angels, and Beavertails at the Ennismore Community Centre (also available Sunday).
On Sunday, ice sculptures continue all day in Lakefield’s Cenotaph Park and Bridgenorth’s Heritage Park. The Antique and Classic Snowmobile Club of Canada will have a display of snowmobiles from days gone by at Rotary Park in Ennismore. The Canoe & Paddle in Lakefield will be hosting free turkey bowling and outdoor Jenga, and free public skating will be available at the Ennismore Community Centre.
You can try your hand at curling on Sunday afternoon on Chemong Lake at Ennismore’s Rotary Park, where the Ennismore Curling Club will have curling stones available, with prizes to be won.
The highlight of PolarFest on Sunday is the Rotary Club of Bridgenorth-Ennismore-Lakefield’s annual Polar Plunge, a fundraiser in support of Rotary and local charities, which begins at 2 p.m. on Chemong Lake at Rotary Park in Ennismore with this year’s theme being “Barbie.” Register as a jumper, raise money for your favourite charity, and take the plunge. Proceeds from the event will be split equally between local charities and Rotary.
Also taking place all weekend long is the annual “Snowman” challenge, with a prize to be won for the best creation (even if it’s not made of snow). The fourth annual Lakefield Hot Chocolate Festival is also running during PolarFest weekend (and all month long), with proceeds from every cup purchased supporting important community organizations and families in need.
Participating Lakefield businesses will also be offering specials during the Lakefield Snowflake Sale on PolarFest weekend, and Lakefield’s Canoe & Paddle and Stuff’d will be hosting a variety of PolarFest activities and offering PolarFest-themed treats.
Advance registration and tickets are required for some PolarFest activities and events, including the Polar Paddle, the Polar Plunge, and the Ice Ball. For more information about PolarFest — including a full schedule and map of events — and to register for selected events, visit polarfest.ca.