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West Nipissing Remembers
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by Isabel Mosseler
Shiver & Sky in Field was the perfect place to celebrate Family Day, February 19, as children and parents enjoyed sliding, skating on several rinks cleared on the Sturgeon River, flying kites, walking or skating a kilometre-long path, sitting around blazing campfires on hay bales, listening to live music while sampling hot chocolate, coffee, hot chili and burgers.
The event was a mid-winter treat held at Fishers’ Paradise, hastily put together by the people who organize the summer River & Sky Music & Camping Festival, Peter Zwarich and Lara Bradley with their crew of volunteers. The event drew families from throughout West Nipissing, as well as North Bay and Sudbury, with an estimated 185 to 200 enjoying mild weather conditions and a full day of wintry pleasures. It was one of those happy occasions with children squealing in delight as they crashed into snow banks, while others warmed themselves around several fires.
Cold weather can wreak havoc on instruments, but five bands braved the elements to play on an outdoor stage, framed by hay bales and cheered on by a small crowd. Little Junior, The Almighty Rhombus, Lazy Daisies, Dany & Jeanette and Rose-Erin Stokes entertained the guests with music that could be heard throughout the valley, warming things up as the day went on.
The owners of Fishers’ Paradise were surprised at the unexpected turnout, with Julie Bertram saying “It was fantastic; it went so well. I was not expecting it to go so well because it was sort of last minute, to test it out this year, to iron out bugs. But there weren’t any bugs!” She continued, “Everybody used everything, the skating paths, listening to the music, the saunas. There were some good shots of people coming out of the saunas and having snowball fights.”
In preparation for the day, three ice rinks were cleared off the river and a skating path over a kilometre-long curved around the ox-bow. “Linden (Julie’s daughter) skated the trail as fast as she could and it took her six minutes to go the distance, and she was barrelling. It was so beautiful and the other side of the path it was silent – you couldn’t hear a thing,” described Bertram.
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