Winter fireworks and family fun in Elkford

Fernie woodcarvers Michael Penny and Dave Richards participate in Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ 2022. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Fernie woodcarvers Michael Penny and Dave Richards participate in Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ 2022. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Fernie woodcarversDave Richards and Michael Penny carve bears out of wood with chainsaws at Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ 2022. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Fernie woodcarversDave Richards and Michael Penny carve bears out of wood with chainsaws at Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ 2022. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Fernie woodcarvers Michael Penny and Dave Richards carve bears out of wood with chainsaws at Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ 2022. They brought a small host of previously-carved wooden sculptures to the event. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Fernie woodcarvers Michael Penny and Dave Richards carve bears out of wood with chainsaws at Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ 2022. They brought a small host of previously-carved wooden sculptures to the event. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Fernie woodcarvers Michael Penny and Dave Richards carve bears out of wood with chainsaws at Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ 2022. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Fernie woodcarvers Michael Penny and Dave Richards carve bears out of wood with chainsaws at Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ 2022. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Julia and Ali Wilson partook in Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ 2022 events, spending the week leading up to the Feb. 19 weekend building a snow sculpture as a family. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Julia and Ali Wilson partook in Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ 2022 events, spending the week leading up to the Feb. 19 weekend building a snow sculpture as a family. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
District of Elkford councillor Mandy McGregor gives a speech on Feb. 19, 2022 at Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ event, to acknowledge the town’s new ‘outdoor meeting space’ which had finished being built in summer 2021. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)District of Elkford councillor Mandy McGregor gives a speech on Feb. 19, 2022 at Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ event, to acknowledge the town’s new ‘outdoor meeting space’ which had finished being built in summer 2021. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

Elkford’s ‘Winter in the Wild’ returned to town over Family Day weekend with events ranging from fireworks and s’mores to a chainsaw wood carving demo.

The longstanding ‘Winter in the Wild’ tradition took last year off due to COVID-19, and district leisure services clerk Michelle Krenbrink said it was good to be back.

“It just feels really positive, it feels uplifting for the town to have something to do. We’ve all been so cooped up and stir crazy for so long.”

“There’s a lot of traditions, and people have been sad that they haven’t been able to do anything, so it’s really good to see people come out.”

Fernie woodcarver Michael Penny and his apprentice Dave Richards were busy chainsaw-carving blocks of wood into standing black bears as families gathered in the town’s new outdoor meeting space behind the district office to watch them demonstrate their craft.

“It’s really nice to actually get out of the shop a little bit and see the people again,” Penny said.

The pair were at work from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that afternoon, and were part of a string of ‘Winter in the Wild’ events.

On Friday (Feb. 18), there were two swimming events and night skiing at Wapiti Ski Hill. Then, in the evening, there was a bonfire, s’mores and hot chocolate event, with fireworks to conclude the night.

On Saturday (Feb. 19), a wide range of events took place throughout the day, from Elkford’s traditional ‘Snowmobile Poker Run’, an ‘Ugly Mug Fundraiser’ with tobogganing and bonfire and hot chocolate, an introduction to archery event, and more.

Throughout the week, people were also partaking in building snow sculptures on a piece of land next to Hwy. 43.

Ali Wilson and her family, who only moved to Elkford about three months ago, starting working on their ‘bear hug’ sculpture for the contest on Monday (Feb. 14) and worked on it every night of the week. The sculptures were set to be judged at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

“We’re new to the area so it’s pretty exciting what they have going on this year. We went last night to have s’mores and watch the fireworks, and we’re looking forward to doing a bunch of activities this afternoon as well.”

Julia, Wilson’s 9-year-old daughter, said: “The fireworks were beautiful. And the sculpture’s really fun when you’re doing it with your family.”

Festival