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Eighth Street ski trails to light up for winter carnival

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While registrations for activities during the Little Amik Winter Carnival are trickling in, organizers are gearing up for the onslaught of participants and onlookers expected at the seventh-annual celebration running Feb. 4-7.

First on the event schedule is the popular “Candlelight Ski,” which will be held next Thursday evening on the cross-country ski trails north of Eighth Street.

This event begins at 6 p.m. and skiers, walkers, snowshoers, and parents hauling kids on toboggans are welcome, organizer Henry Miller said yesterday, noting the start time was an hour compared to last year.

“That was the idea behind starting it earlier so that more parents could bring their kids,” he explained.

People who come out once again will be able to warm up by the bonfire, which will be located about 500 yards in from the road. Hot apple cider also will be served by members of the local Heart Health Coalition.

Miller said roughly one kilometre of the ski trail, and the shorter walking path, would be lit up by candles.

“The skiers will have to go past the bonfire and then come back around on the trail and [connect] with it,” he explained, noting the trails were in excellent condition.

Miller also said volunteers would be stationed near the road to give people directions to the bonfire.

Also slated next Thursday night is the annual “Rendez-Vous Road Hockey Challenge,” slated to get underway at 7 p.m. in the parking lot at La Place Rendez-Vous.

There is no entry fee, and winning teams will be awarded with a jug of refreshments and wings from the Sand Bar Lounge.

New to the carnival this year is the “South Park” snow sculpture contest, slated Feb. 6.

Each contestant must construct a “South Park” cartoon character no less than 91 cm (three feet) tall out of snow or ice, and then transport their entry to Skates and Blades between 12-2 p.m. for judging.

First prize is a snowboard valued at $400, donated by Skates and Blades, with the second and third prizes being lift tickets donated by Giant’s Ridge.

Store owner Gord McQuarrie, an avid fan of “South Park” and sponsor of the contest, said he’s expecting it to be a hit with the younger crowd.

“I think the snowboard will [attract] kids to the contest,” he reasoned, noting he hoped the event would bring more interest to that winter sport.

Other carnival activities slated for Saturday and Sunday include an adult “Frozen Foot” road hockey tournament, a Nintendo tournament, a mock fishing derby, and a children’s chess tournament.

Another highlight will be the “Battle of the Businesses,” planned for the Saturday at 2 p.m. at the arena field. Teams of four, representing a business in Fort Frances or the surrounding area, will compete in three events--“Biggest Snowman,” “Relay Sled Pull,” and “Tug-o-War.”

Entry fee is $20 per team, payable by Feb. 1 at the Chamber of Commerce office on Scott Street (across from Safeway).

All businesses are being urged to sign up a team!

Meanwhile, the new “Carnival Comedy,” featuring Winnipeg-based comedians Dean Jenkinson and Jon Ljungberg, is slated Feb. 6 upstairs at Memorial Arena, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

Dan’s Muzik will provide music during intermission, and also after the second set wraps up at 10:30 p.m.

Tickets are available in advance at the Chamber office for $8 each, or they will cost $10 at the door.

Meanwhile, tickets for the ever-popular “Quest for the Best” talent show, slated next Friday at Memorial Arena, will go on sale Feb. 1 for $12 each at the Chamber office and Fort Frances Public Library.

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