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'SnOasis 7' chilly but fun

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Even though the wind made it feel cold as heck, “SnOasis 7" still ended up being "Snowflake Heaven” for dozens of families here Saturday afternoon.

Although the chilly temperature seemed to keep some people away, children and adults still came out to the Rainy Lake Square from noon-2 p.m. for the Friends of the Fort Frances Museum's seventh-annual winter fun day.

Volunteers once again ran fun winter-related games such as “Glacier Golf," "Frosty Toss,” an obstacle course, bowling, and a scavenger hunt for children to play.

Jay McFarlane, Jenna Plante, and their daughters, Hope, five, and six-month-old, Daisy, attended the event for a third-straight year, with the exception of their youngest who was at her first “SnOasis.”

“We love the event," McFarlane said. ”Not only is it something to break up a lull in events between Christmas and spring, but it offers fun activities the kids look forward to.

"It also gives parents a chance to educate their kids on a little bit of local culture.

“I definitely thought the traditional clothing was a fantastic touch this year," he added, referring to the Sunset Country Métis members who participated at "SnOasis 7”—many of whom wore sashes and capotes (blanket coats).

Sunset Country Métis members had a fire pit set up in the lane behind the square, where they served up bannock on a stick. Given the brisk wind, the fire was a hot attraction Saturday.

The local group has taken part in “SnOasis” for most of its seven years.

Friends of the Museum volunteers, meanwhile, roasted and served up their now-famous “auger dogs” on the barbecue. An estimated 175 spiral-cut hotdogs were cooked up.

Any leftover buns and auger dogs were donated to the Fort Frances Family Centre across the street.

As well, “Fun in the Sun" volunteers were manning their "Shoot the Puck at the Duck” game.

They also were selling “Rubber Duckie” raffle tickets for the race slated for Saturday, June 15 at the Sorting Gap Marina.

The group is holding the raffle in partnership with the Fort Frances Lions Club, with tickets costing $10 each (available from FITS members and at the Fine Line Art Gallery on Mowat Avenue).

FITS committee member Cathy Richards said she was glad she could participate.

“It was a great event for families; lots of time was spent coming up with creative and fun things for everyone to participate with,” she noted.

“I'd come out again.”

Inside the museum, there was face-painting, hot chocolate, cookies, and, for a second year-in-a-row, “Storytime” yoga with Meghan Spooner.

Spooner said she was honoured to take part again.

“'SnOasis' is a wonderful opportunity for our communities to celebrate the beauty and uniqueness of winter in our region,” she remarked.

"I look forward every year to the event, and getting parents and children excited about stories and yoga.

“It is exciting to see children come back each year, sharing their excitement for story yoga and participating in yoga with their families,” Spooner added.

“I love seeing adults, caregivers, grandparents, and even great-grandparents smile, laugh, and play.”

Friends of the Library members helped serve up goodies, including an impressive variety of homemade cookies made by “SnOasis” volunteers, to the public.

Friends of the Museum president Robert Schulz said “SnOasis” went as well as can be expected.

“[It was] a bitterly cold day and yet many people came out anyway,” he noted.

“Numbers were down from 2018," he admitted. ”[But] those who came out seemed to enjoy the events in spite of the weather.

"The inside events were very well-attended and provided much relief from the outside conditions.

“We have a great cast of volunteers and with a little co-operation from Mother Nature, we are looking forward to 'SnOasis 8' in 2020,” Schulz concluded.

The event was supported by the Friends of the Museum, Friends of the Library, Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre, Sunset Country Métis, and Safeway.

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