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Edmonton offers a wide array of outdoor festivals all year round. Even in winter, there’s so many great events that it can be difficult to choose which one to attend, and even harder to figure out what to do once you get there.
The Silver Skate Festival, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, is without a doubt one of the festivals that you should put on your to-do list for years to come. Rooted in Dutch winter traditions, the festival combines sports (mainly ice-skating, as indicated in the name), arts, culture, and hobbies. Each year, the Silver Skate Festival draws a bigger and bigger crowd. To give you a better idea, last year, more that 85,000 people showed up. That’s a heck of a crowd!
If you think it’s only for the athletic types, you’re wrong. The festival generally features many events and activities to appeal to all tastes. Among other things, you can go dog sledding, take in breathtaking ice sculptures, enjoy live music and visit any or all of the ever-popular food trucks that are located all over the festival grounds to hit the spot.
Here’s a little sneak peek on some of the main attractions.
Participate in a Zombie Run
Why bother with a run-of-the-mill obstacle course when you can do one while being chased by zombies? Odds are that the « Dead Cold Run » will be the most intense and thrilling 5 km race of your life. One thing is for sure: you’ll have all the motivation it takes to make it to the finish line!
Admire Icy Works of Art
This is a far cry from the traditional snowmen we all build in our front yard every year. We’re talking about enormous snow structures that are transformed into works of art that will stretch the limits of your imagination. Artists from countries around the world attend and participate in a friendly competition that’s an icy treat for the eyes.
See a Blacksmith at Work
In the village, you can watch the blacksmiths as they work using the same techniques and basic tools as their ancestors. It’s really worth a stop to learn about the process. With the breakneck pace of modern life, it’s not every day that we have the opportunity to experience the traditions of the past and to learn more about our history.
Experience the Famous “Kortebaan”
In a nutshell, “Kortebaan” is a traditional Dutch speedskating sprint race held on outdoor ice. The Silver Skate Festival does a version of this event where pairs of skaters race down a 160m route in a heated battle to be crowned champion. As a quirky final touch, event organisers have decided to maintain one of the traditional aspects of the Dutch race that states that the winner takes home a (wait for it…) baked ham!
A New Twist on the Traditional Snowshoeing Excursion
Have you ever thought of strapping on your snowshoes and participating in a race? The Silver Skate Festival is adding a new dimension to this unknown winter sport by giving participants an opportunity to explore their competitive side and push their limits in a new way with a 5 km race. You don’t see that every day.
Whether you’re sporty or not, odds are good that your time at the Silver Skate Festival will give you some of your best winter memories.