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Fire and Ice Festival a tribute to the community

Firefighters say Family Day event is their way of giving back

By: Stu Salkeld

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 06:00 am

FIERY FESTIVAL – The Fire and Ice Festival will live up to its name with a live fire performance.
FIERY FESTIVAL – The Fire and Ice Festival will live up to its name with a live fire performance.
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

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Family Day will be bursting at the seams with activity as Fire and Ice comes to Lacombe Lake Park Feb. 17.

The event is named after the frigid February weather and the fact St. Albert firefighters have taken Family Day under their wing, and the event looks like it’s going to be the place to be that day.

St. Albert Firefighters Union Local 2130 president Warren Gresik said Monday the members of the department were approached by the City of St. Albert last year to handle major Family Day activities. Apparently, some of the groups involved had difficulty handling what is a major event in the city.

The firefighters embraced the idea, named it Fire and Ice and carried on.

“We thought this was a golden opportunity to give back and put on a good event for the citizens of St. Albert,” said Gresik.

And a good event it will be, judging by the lineup of activities. Gresik said there will be fire-wielding entertainers, horse-drawn sleigh rides, an obstacle course, a mini tug-of-war, a social area to meet firefighters, coffee can curling and firefighter pond hockey.

Gresik said the firefighters are anxiously looking forward to the pond hockey event. Firefighters will be decked out in their hockey gear and willing to compete against all comers. The public should bring their own sticks and skates, but Gresik noted a few sticks will be available for anyone who forgets theirs.

The firefighters will also be extending their charitable campaign for muscular dystrophy, a tradition of fire departments across North America. The firefighters recently held their roof event to raise funds, the tally of which is not available yet, noted Gresik.

“The guys were very cold,” said Gresik.

The firefighters will be continuing their Fill the Boot campaign too, so if visitors to Fire and Ice want to donate to muscular dystrophy, it will be very convenient, noted Gresik.

K97 FM will have their on-location Road Hogs at Fire and Ice, noted Gresik, with giveaways and contests.

Gresik stated the firefighters wanted to hold Fire and Ice at Lacombe Lake Park because it was “the ideal location. It has lots of space, and it’s very picturesque.”

Gresik said the lake layout lends itself well to the sleigh rides and the ring running around the lake is perfect for different activity stations.

Fire and Ice will be held Family Day, Feb. 17, at Lacombe Lake Park. The event is free of charge, but donations to muscular dystrophy are gratefully accepted. The event runs from 12 noon to 4 p.m., but Gresik noted parking for the event will be in extremely short supply. Families are strongly encouraged to use the shuttle bus running from St. Albert Centre mall every 10 minutes starting at 11:50 a.m.

Gresik reminded families to dress for the weather (as of Monday, The Weather Network’s long-range forecast calls for -5 degrees and 60 per cent chance of snow for Family Day) and bring your skates.

“Bring an empty stomach because we should have treats for all,” said Gresik. “The fire performers should be fantastic.”

Gresik said the firefighters have been humbled by the amount of corporate sponsorship that’s helped make Fire and Ice a reality. He said Tim Hortons is sponsoring hot chocolate and coffee, Save-on Foods is sponsoring snacks like juice and chips and Sysco is sponsoring food, so firefighters will also be cooking for families as well.

“We’re very thankful for all the donations,” said Gresik.

Gresik said firefighters often see members of the community in serious, even tragic, situations. This is an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other better, and enjoy themselves at the same time.

“Community is who we are,” said Gresik. “We’re happy to do our best in times of need. We respond when called upon.

“And that’s how we view this event,” he added.


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