Pemberton Winterfest hopes to avoid Plan B 

Fest organizers embracing the cold after back-to-back warm winters

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAVE STEERS / COURTESY OF WINTERFEST - GONE FISHIN' If the ice holds up, attendees to the Pemberton Winterfest can expect a full slate of events.
  • Photo by Dave Steers / Courtesy of Winterfest
  • GONE FISHIN' If the ice holds up, attendees to the Pemberton Winterfest can expect a full slate of events.

After two straight warmer-than-average winters put the melt on Pemberton Winterfest, there's bound to be an inkling of doubt in the minds of organizers.

"There's always a bit of a concern for sure, as this is a 100-per-cent weather-dependent event," said Carlee Cindric, chair of the Pemberton Winterfest committee. "And if the ice isn't there we'll have to go to our Plan B."

Thankfully for Cindric and the rest of the committee, the ice on One Mile Lake seems to be thick enough for the festivities — knock on wood.

"It's looking really good actually," Cindric said on Jan. 11.

"This cold snap that we're having right now is great. We just hope that it holds."

Pemberton Winterfest is scheduled for Jan. 22 to 24. Organizers have arranged a full slate of events including hockey, curling, ice fishing, snow painting, an outdoor movie and fireworks.

But if the weather warms up, Cindric and the rest of the Winterfest committee have the aforementioned Plan B in their back pockets.

"For Plan B we'll move as much of the events as we can down to the downtown barn, which is a great, really central location," she said.

"So we'll still kick things off on the Friday with our kickoff party. We'll have the bonfire and hotdogs and s'mores and we'll do an outdoor family movie on that night, and then we'll throw to the Pemberton Legion for the Dakota Pearl and Blackwater MC concert."

Other "Plan B" events include the fan-favourite Polar Bear Plunge into One Mile Lake on Saturday followed by a family friendly disco glow party and fireworks show.

"I wanted to go in with a more solid Plan B this year, so that regardless of what the weather was going to do for us, we would have something that would celebrate winter," Cindric said.

But after back-to-back Winterfest disappointments, the obvious preference is to never speak of Plan B again.

"We're still trying to just push for Winterfest on the lake, because we feel that it's truly Pemberton, it's truly Canadian, it's truly winter," Cindric said. "It's a great celebration."

Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman said that he and a lot of other Pembertonians have come to love the festival.

"To me, it's just got the best community vibe, and people really enjoy it," he said.

"People are starting to talk about it, the posters are up and everybody is looking forward to it."

While Saturday's Winterfest events on the ice are slightly more casual, Sunday is sure to feature some cold competition — the all-ages ice-fishing derby comes with a $500 prize.

There's no parking at One Mile Lake for the event, but organizers have arranged for free parking at the Pemberton Community Centre and the Old Highways Yard behind the Visitor Centre and hope to provide a shuttle service.

For a full schedule of events, head to


At a special council meeting held Dec. 30, Pemberton council passed fourth and final reading of its Triple Combination Pumper Truck Loan Authorization Bylaw.

An Alternative Approval Process for the loan authorization on the new truck took place from Nov. 26 to Dec. 29.

No valid or invalid elector response forms were received as of the deadline.

As such, the Village of Pemberton will move ahead with borrowing $533,536 from the Municipal Finance Authority for the new truck.

"It's something that's been at our table for quite awhile, and council felt it was really important to make it happen from a safety point of view and for fire protection obviously, and also just to keep our Fire Underwriters Survey rating strong and our insurance rates low," Richman said.


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