Kavan Cook, 9, and Cash Paton, 7, curl using a frozen turkey at the Elkford recreation centre. The Turkey Toss was hosted by the Elkford Junior Curling Club on Saturday as part of Winter in the Wild. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

GALLERY: Elkford goes wild for winter

Big turnout to annual Winter in the Wild festival in Elkford

Elkford residents young and old have come together to celebrate what makes the mountain town unique.

From a snow sculpture contest to a toonie tea social and craft fair, there was something for everyone at this year’s Winter in the Wild.

The District-sponsored festival featured a wide range of activities and events held at different venues across Elkford from Thursday to Sunday.

At the recreation centre on Saturday, families were challenged to curl using a frozen turkey instead of a curling stone during the Turkey Toss.

Elkford Junior Curling Club lead coordinator Carmen Murray said there’s a big difference between the two.

“They’re much lighter,” she said. “A normal curling stone is 44 pounds whereas this is only 10 pounds, so it’s actually harder to throw because it doesn’t momentum for as long.”

The club hoped to raise $300 through the Turkey Toss to help send its members, aged 6-15, to curling camp in the summer.

“We have three different age groups that run once a week and we have some kids, a girls team, that went to high school playdowns, so we have some competitive and some are just learning to curl,” said Murray.

At the Blaine Borys Ball Diamond nearby, nine teams from Elkford and Lethbridge contested the Sno-Ball Tournament.

It’s the fifth year Elkford Minor Ball has hosted the event, which raises funds for the club.

“It’s been very successful. Sometimes we have snow, sometimes we don’t but today is a great day,” said the club’s Terry Vandale.

“We’ve raised quite a bit of money for Elkford Minor Ball. This year we’re going to be building a batting cage in the spring.”

Vandale believes Winter in the Wild is a great community event.

“It’s fabulous,” she said. “There are many things going from Thursday to Sunday for this little town… it brings lots of people in and gets everybody together, and lets everybody know what Elkford is all about.”

New events this year included a ball drop hosted by the Elkford Figure Skating Club, a hunting film tour and dance, and a chilli social at Mountain Meadows Golf Course, where people could buy locally-made pottery and fill it with fresh chilli.

“I think every year it’s getting a little bit bigger, a little bit better with more community participation, both on the ‘let’s create an event for the community to take part in’ and ‘oh my gosh, there’s something happening let’s go out and see what’s going on’, so from both perspectives it’s getting bigger and better,” said Elkford Councillor Mandy McGregor.

She said a Columbia Basin Trust grant allowed the Elkford Community Enhancement Society to buy skating supports and make the skating events more accessible this year.

McGregor admitted there’s not much room for more growth with every community facility in use during the action-packed event. However, she’s not complaining.

“There’s so many of the community groups that are participating now. If somebody could come up with some space to do something that’s not already being done, I’m totally on board… it’s very cool, I’m pretty stoked about it.”

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Declan Cook, 13, takes part in the Turkey Toss. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Cody Wilm, 9, throws the frozen turkey down the sheet. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Triston Hooper bats during the Sno-Ball Tournament on Saturday. The event raised funds for Elkford Minor Ball. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Teams compete in the Sno-Ball Tournament on Saturday. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Harrison, 8, and Trinity Tulurialik, 14, play chess during the toonie tea social. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

The Thiel family - Marcus, 5, Seretta, 10, Cynthia and Sheldon - during the creation of their fire (see below), which came second in the snow sculpture contest. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

The winning entry in the snow sculpture contest. Submitted

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