Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fort to be part of ‘Snoasis 2’

The “Friends of the Fort Frances Museum” is asking residents to help it put the “fort” back in Fort Frances next month, with plans to build an ice fort at Lions Park here.
The community project will be part of “Snoasis 2”—a family fun day scheduled for Saturday, March 15, which also will include ice-bowling, smoosh races, fun with the Rainy Lake Nordic Ski Club, face painting and snacks, along with events hosted by the library and Memorial Sports Centre.

“The first ‘Snoasis’ was held last March and it was a big hit,” noted “Friends” president Duane Hicks.
“It took place at the East End Hall and featured a snow sculpture contest, as well as games for kids,” he recalled.
“This year, we want to do the same kind of event,” said Hicks. “But instead of snow sculptures, we want to build an ice fort using ice ‘bricks’ made by the public.”
The idea is for families to take empty two-litre milk or juice cartons, put enough water in them to form a brick (not too full as the water will expand when frozen), and freeze them.
They’re then encouraged to bring the frozen cartons to “Snoasis 2” on March 15 and use the ice “bricks,” which will have formed inside, to build a fort together on that day.
“We were partially-inspired by J.W. Walker School, where several years ago the students each made ice blocks and built a wall of coloured ice on their playground,” noted Hicks.
“The ice fort is intended to be an easy, fun way for the community to work together on a project,” he added.
“It’s simple and cheap to make ice bricks—anyone can do it,” said Hicks.
“But when everyone brings their bricks together, they’ll be used to make something greater than the sum of its parts,” he explained.
Ideally, everyone who comes out March 15 can bring several cartons of ice, noted Hicks.
The size of the fort—and how many walls it will have—will depend on the number of bricks.
The bricks, along with “snowcrete” (snow mixed with a little water), will be used to build the structure.
Hicks suggested people might consider personalizing their ice bricks, so they’ll be able to visit the fort, point out their brick(s), and say, “That one’s mine!”
Some ideas include adding food colouring or non-toxic paint, flowers, inexpensive trinkets or personal items, or even laminated business logos to the water during the freezing process.
“This is new territory for us so if anyone out there wants to experiment and share their ice block-making tips and tricks with us, we’ll let other people know about them,” said Hicks.
“There’s so many creative people in Fort Frances, I’m sure there’s a hundred good ideas out there.”
With more than a month until the event, Hicks said the key factor right now is for people to save their two-litre cartons.
“Once you’ve had that last bowl of cereal, rinse the carton and set it aside,” he remarked.
“Closer to the date of ‘Snoasis 2,’ put water in it, freeze it, and on March 15 bring it to Lions Park.”
Hicks is hoping local groups, especially schools, get involved or, at the very least, spread the word about “Snoasis 2.”
“If we can get kids excited about it, they’ll tell their friends and parents and it will grow from there,” he reasoned.
“After all, the idea is to get as many people as possible involved.
“Fort St. Pierre was demolished in 2003,” Hicks noted. “We want the community to work together and put the ‘fort’ back in Fort Frances—at least until the spring melt.”
The event is scheduled to run from noon-2 p.m. at Lions Park.
What’s more, the “Friends of the Museum” are excited that the Fort Frances Public Library and Memorial Sports Centre also are planning activities for March 15. The library will offer drop-in “Storytime” from 2-3 p.m. and offer refreshments, while the arena and pool will offer skating and swimming.
“We told Community Services manager Jason Kabel and library CEO Alicia Subnaik Kilgour about our plans, and they were more than happy to get involved,” said Hicks.
“Families will be able to check out our activities at Lions Park, then go to the library and warm up with cocoa while enjoying ‘Storytime,’ and then go to the arena or pool for skate or swim.”
More details about all of the events will be announced in the coming weeks.
Any questions? Drop the by Fort Frances Museum, call 274-7891, or e-mail sgeorge@fort-frances.com

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