A city report is providing a glimpse into plans for an upcoming winter festival in February that will include freestyle snowmobilers hitting massive aerials, snowboarders throwing down tricks on rails, and a fireworks display as a grand finale.
The festival is scheduled for Feb. 16 — BC Family Day long weekend— will also include stages for live entertainment, while downtown restaurants and food trucks will provide hot drinks and food.
“I was really excited to see that it’s going to be downtown and that’s exactly what we need,” said Coun. Norma Blissett, speaking to city staff who prepared the report, “so we have people downtown, enjoying community at night and during the day, so thank you very much for doing this. It looks great.”
Staff asked council to provide $24,000 and in-kind support towards the festival’s budget, which is estimated at $48,500. The city is planning to cover the rest through sponsorships and grant funding, in addition to collecting revenue from a proposed outdoor bar.
The main attraction for the festival will be the snowmobilers.
Brett Turcotte, an X Games double-gold medallist, Cody Borchers, a bronze medallist, and Daniel Shaffer, have develped a ‘high-flying freestyle snowmobile show’ that will be set up with ramps on Baker Street, along with pyrotechnics that will be a part of the display.
The trio will perform two shows that are 20 minutes long.
The course will be about 300 feet long, with a seven-foot barrier between the action and the audience for safety reasons, according to Paul Heywood, with Cranbrook Community Services.
With support from Resorts of the Canadian Rockies and The Choice, a snowboard rail show will also be a part of the event, with professionals throwing down their tricks.
The city is also planning on reaching out to sports broadcasters such as Sportsnet and The Sports Network (TSN) in hopes of getting a crew to come and film the event.
Plans are also afoot to get the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club involved to help showcase different machines and volunteer in different capacities.
The fireworks display will cap the festival, with a sightline at the west end of Baker Street, as the fireworks will be launched from a rock quarry behind the city’s public works yard.
“Going through this, I’m really excited to see what’s being presented and I know we took a lot of abuse a few years ago for not doing fireworks and I think this is definitely a way to help make up for some of that,” said Coun. Wesly Graham.
Earlier this summer, Council banned a Canada Day summer fireworks show due to the risk of wildfire surrounding the community. Council directed staff to look at creating a winter festival where a fireworks display could be held without a wildfire threat.
Heywood also addressed some concerns he’s heard that it won’t be a ‘family-friendly’ event, noting that staff is exploring options for family activities and entertainment for the afternoon before the main part of the festival gets underway.