Regina’s first winter festival, Frost, lights up the night
by rose brito, contributor
During the cold months in Regina, I’m sure most people would rather be shut in, wrapped in blankets, and sipping on a warm cup of cocoa. However, during this past week, Regina has been encouraging many to take advantage of the cold for some winter festivities. Frost is the first festival of its kind in Regina and ran from February 4-13. It took place in four different locations across the city, including Evraz, Wascana, the Warehouse District, and downtown. The main attraction, however, took place in the Evraz location. Tickets were available to purchase, but there were also plenty of other free activities to visit in the other locations.
Unfortunately, I could only experience a bit of the event. Regardless, it was worth freezing my toes off for. As soon as you pass the entryway, you’re greeted with a flurry of… sparkling rods? At first, I didn’t think it was that enchanting, but that would soon change when I came back later at night, when the park truly came to life.
But before it came to that, the ice sculptures came to view. The amount of work the artists put in to make that much detail on the sculptures truly paid off. Some honourable mentions were a fiery dragon (ironic for a winter festival), an eagle, a giant photo frame, a king’s throne and a viking. Not only were there sculptures to gawk at, but there was also a giant snow maze (which held a bunch of kiddos sitting at the edges) and a giant ice slide (with an equal number of children lining up).
Along the road, you eventually stumble upon the Prismatica section. There were 25 structures with a special film that reflected light to make a million colours seemingly on its own. They were fun to twist and turn and all, but the spotlight was definitely taken by the ice sculptures.
There were a couple of presentations to look forward to as the day set. The first I attended was presented in the Indigenous Village, where Terrance Littletent and his family presented the audience with various traditional dances. The audience was eager to learn the various stories that these dances would teach. One of them, if I can recall correctly, was the story of an eagle hatching and entering its new world. This story was not told with words, but instead with a beating drum that represented the heartbeat of mother nature, and the hoops that Littletent swung around his body to represent each stage of growth. At the end of the dance, he encouraged the audience to hold hands with each other and tap around in a circle to represent unity among all people. I’m sure everyone who attended the event left with a new seed of knowledge and a happy heart.
My family decided to take a break from the cold and entered the Viterra International Trade Centre to see what was inside. We were looking for something, but to our surprise, we forgot about the Glow exhibit. Once we stumbled upon it, we were mesmerized. Something tells me that the building will have a huge electrical bill to pay for displaying the billions of little lights that were structured into many famous buildings from around the world. The activity encouraged guests to grab a little passport to stamp as they “travelled” through the trail of glittering lights.
The United Kingdom had a sparkling Big Ben and a London Bridge you could walk right under. The Netherlands displayed a pathway of flowers, eventually leading towards a giant windmill. China held lilypads and a giant dragon, similar to the ice sculpture from outside. These were only a few of the many places you could visit, and at the end of your trip, there were plenty of other glowing structures you could walk through and take pictures in – or be hypnotized by the intricate patterns of the lights. Whichever came first.
After getting some dinner, my family and I rushed back to make it to the last shows of the evening. It was night by the time we arrived, and that’s when the real magic happened. Now was the opportunity to really glow, and a bunch of lights radiated from the sculptures, the Prismatics, the ice slide, and the snow maze. The mystical music that played in the background really made it feel like you’d suddenly entered a fantastical world.
But besides that, there were two more presentations to visit: the fire show and the glow show. Both were conducted by Daniel Tamagi and Amanda ‘Panda’ Syryda from Transflowmation. With their wands and hoops, the dark night was quickly illuminated by the intense fires and hypnotizing colours. They sure took advantage of the nighttime, and many people came trickling in to see what’s up, like moths to a lamp.
There were many other activities that occurred throughout the week, such as a skating performance from both Olympic medalist Elvis Stojko and skaters from the Canada Ice Dance Theatre, two live performances featuring Big Wreck and Dean Brody, and a curling game. Though, for me, one day was enough to experience what the festival provided.
Judging on the many people that came by and the positive feedback that came tumbling in, there’s no doubt that the next festival will be bigger and better than the first. I know I’ll sure be there next year for another round of cold cheeks and chilly extravaganzas.