Edmonton's longest-running winter festival celebrates the season in Hawrelak Park
By Cory Schachtel | February 9, 2023
The Silver Skate Festival has brought winter sport, recreation, arts and culture together for 33 years, and this is Executive Producer Erin DiLoreto’s 17th. There are of course the Skate Races, the Winter Triathlon and the Ice Duathlon, for those who want to push their snowy limits. But we talked with DiLoreto about everything else you can do over 10 days of winter fun, starting February 10.
Feel the Spirit
Spirits on Ice is our little homage to Taste of Edmonton. We do it in our tent on the second weekend (18th) of the festival, and we bring in food and local distilleries. People can get tasting tickets and listen to the live music as we highlight and showcase our local community and what they’re doing.
On the Wednesday (15th) evening, we’re doing Battle of the Neighbourhoods. We’re really excited about all the neighbourhoods that we have — Campio Brewing, Alley Kat, Odd Company and Town Square Brewing — all working with their in-house restaurant or a restaurant in their neighbourhood for bragging rights to who has the best brew out of these four neighbourhoods, who has the best food and who’s got the best overall. And like I said, it’s just a fun night out to try different things and maybe experience stuff that you have never experienced before.
Playing the Long Table Game
I’m really excited about our Long Table Dinner (16th), because we’re partnering with Ukraine kitchen. We’re working with some some pretty talented chefs from five-star restaurants to bring a Ukrainian meal to help raise funds for them and to showcase what they’re doing to the chefs. It’s going to be an incredible dinner.
Take the Trail
Silver Skate Folk Trail is something that we do in the evenings. We animate it with installations of snow sculptures while nomadic performers acting out a story on several nights throughout the festival. There are two allegorical tales that they tell that have some social justice meaning to them. This year, we’re telling the stories of The Land of Shadows and The Land of Light, as well as The Tree That Wants to Dance. So those are two really fun programs that will be animated through the entire festival. But on the weekends, there will actually be theatrical performances, with actors engaged with the public.
A Symposium of Snow
We have snow sculptures throughout the site, but the International Snow Sculpture Symposium starts on February 9th, and we’re really excited to invite some international teams — there’s a team from Wales, a team from Germany and a team from Spain, as well as five local teams. They have from Friday till Sunday at 2 p.m. to complete an eight-by-eight block of snow. And then the public has an opportunity to vote on their favourite, and the artists vote on what their favourite as well. And those will be up for the entire duration of the festival.