Winter winds couldn’t keep Kagawong Winterfesters at bay

Miranda Noble takes on brother Harrison at ball hockey during Kagawong Winterfest.

KAGAWONG—The annual Kagawong Winterfest, kicked off with an evening of music Friday night with the Folk Roots Collective ensemble, wound down after a hard fought battle between hockey rivals on Saturday afternoon. By all accounts it was a successful weekend with plenty of smiles and community spirit.

A hot breakfast of French toast (topped with real maple syrup), scrambled eggs, Danishes, fruit cocktail, sausages, pancakes and potatoes was enjoyed by all. Sharon Alkenbrack, one of the organizers, was very pleased with the great turnout of 80 people.

One breakfast attendee noted, “When they put on a pancake breakfast they don’t fool around.” People were still filing in at 10 am.

Members of the economic development committee (EDC) flipped pancakes, topped up coffee cups and welcomed everyone at the door. Proceed go towards the purchase of daffodils to kick off the Daffodil Festival, which takes place the first weekend of May.

The public works crew outdid themselves with the toboggan hill. It was a nice long ride down from to top. Children were still having fun at 3 pm after the other activities had wound down.

Volunteer firefighters were on scene to give out hats and provide pamphlets on fire safety. Fire Chief Merv Gilchrist and Martin Connell kept watch on the bonfire set up in between the ball hockey rink and sliding hill.

Constable Al Boyd, community services officer for the OPP, and Rick Bond, vice president of the trail patrol for the Manitoulin Snowdusters, took part by bringing snowmobiles and a groomer.

Owners of the Auberge Inn were on hand to share their love of snowshoeing.

Maple taffy made by one of the Winterfest organizers, Jim Chambers, was a big hit with everyone.

Pat Hess of Northern Ontario Traction Kiting and Outdoor Adventure, who attended for the first time, took interested outdoor enthusiasts to Manitou Lane for a demo and lessons and later posted on his Facebook page “I would like to thank Kagawong Winterfest and Concept Air Kites for an epic weekend flying kites. It was great to see new people interested in the sport and take part in the demo and lessons. Next year will be bigger and better.”

Ten men and women competed in the second annual chili cookoff with the winner being Wayne Aelick, who had the most number of votes. His last minute entry earned him $50, which he generously donated back to the recreation committee volunteers.

Ball hockey organizer Harrison Noble, with the Kagawong Cup to defend, gave his rivals a run for their money. Four teams took part, one of which was led by his sister Miranda. A hard fought final game for the prize went into sudden death overtime and was won by former ball hockey champions led by Zach Whalen. The cup, once again, is proudly displayed at Bridal Veil Esso. Their winnings were donated back to the organizers.

Five tables of euchre players enjoyed an afternoon of cards. Susan Arbour shared following the day’s events that “everyone had a good time” with lots of laughter and friendly competition. Players had the opportunity to enjoy a bowl of bottomless chili at a reduced price with about one third of them taking advantage.

Winners included Jim Lanktree and Fred Pickard (first place), Frank Haner and Eva West (second), Muriel Hunt and Lil Boyd (third) and Graham and Sheila Graham in fourth spot. Most lone hands winner was the team of Mr. Lanktree and Mr. Pickard with seven. The low prize was won by the duo of Donna Beam and Barb Bright. While Ms. Bright may not have had luck in cards, she took home the special prize and one of the four door prizes, two of which were donated by local merchants. Other door prize winners included Don VanEvery, Mike Arbour and Fred Pickard.

The day’s activities, while planned (in part) by members of the recreation committee, were truly a community event. One business owner (who was unable to attend) said that many customers who came in the store commented to her “what a great community Kagawong is and how well everyone works together and supports each other—another job well done by the organizers and volunteers.”

Door prize winners at the chili cookoff were Gail Los, who won the Polar Express ice hut chair generously donated by Anna and Wayne Aelick, and Mike Arbour, who won a box of kindling donated by a member of the community.

Organizer Jill Ferguson summed it up by saying, “Thanks to everyone who came out to help and to all of you who came to take part and have fun.”

Sharon Jackson