The Prince Albert Winter Festival

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The final stop on my “boreal plane tour” was the Prince Albert Winter Festival - a seasonal staple for locals and tourists in the area. With 55 years under its belt, the event has established itself as the largest winter festival in Western Canada. This acclaim was quickly exemplified by my difficulty to find a vacant hotel room in the greater Prince Albert area (I suggest that you plan in advance). I only attended one day of the two-week jubilee and it was a lot to take in.

 

In that day alone I tested my less-than-impressive strength in an arm wrestling competition, took a horse-driven sleigh ride, indulged in a fish fry, shopped in the local market and disregarded the recommended age of the Kid’s Zone. I was even a short-lived contender in the festival’s annual King Trapper Competition where I put my survival instincts to the test (and immediately failed).

 

The festival originated in 1964 while Prince Albert was hosting a large-scale Trapper’s convention. The festival founders decided to integrate this into the program, kicking off the festivities with a “Trappers’ Party” where attendees could showcase their skill-set with wildlife calls, pelt preparation and more. Over the years this evolved into The King Trapper Competition - the festivals main event. Competitors are encouraged to honour traditional trapper customs and sport one-of-a-kind uniforms made out of pelts and fur. The organizers stressed that if I was going to compete, I had to look the part. They dressed me in an authentic trappers attire that was as warm as it was becoming. What I lacked in inherent skill, I made up for in style!

 

Some of the other events included in the festival were the snowmobile rally, the sled-dog races, the “Tux’n Toques Gala,” and the annual Northern Spirits Showcase, and a singing competition that features talent from around the province.

 

For more information on the Prince Albert Winter Festival go to:

http://princealbertwinterfestival.com/