KAGAWONG—Members of the Billings Recreation Committee, along with community volunteers, hosted another successful Winter Fest this past weekend. Friday evening’s Cabin Fever games for grownups drew a small number due to weather conditions, however Saturday’s mild temperatures brought out a good-sized crowd.
Outdoor activities included a sliding hill for kids and maple taffy made on-site by Recreation Committee volunteer Jim Chambers. Firefighters were on hand to show newly acquired Jaws of Life and other lifesaving equipment used by the team.
Kim Chatwell and Wendell Clarke from Gore Bay along with Brock and Stephen Chisholm of Rockville brought their vintage snowmobiles for display. Mr. Chisholm has over 100 in storage at his home. Mr. Clarke built a new sled this year and continues to make modifications.
One of the newest additions to Billings is the Quinlan family. Jason and his wife Jennifer, along with their children, have 16 sled dogs. They brought four of their dogs to this year’s Winter Fest. Three are Siberian huskies and one an Alaskan husky. Both adults and children alike were thrilled to talk with the Quinlans to learn about the dogs, pet them and see them in action as they harnessed the team up and ran them up and down the hill behind the Park Centre.
“Siberian huskies,” stated Mr. Quinlan, “are bred to run. They come from a racing line.” The dogs go out for a good run three or four times per week. The longest distance he has taken the team is 30 miles.
“The dogs are always tied up, tethered or on a sled line; don’t let them run loose,” shared Mr. Quinlan.
Anthea Hastie and Louise Hickey of Urban Poling (Sudbury) and Kathy Jewell, owner of Kat’s Pet Supply in Mindemoya, were on hand inside to offer ways to ‘walk your way to better health’ and accessories and tips to keep your four legged friends warm, dry and healthy.
Ms. Hastie and Ms. Hickey were eager to show the public how to use the poles while walking in an urban setting, snow covered hiking trails or snowshoeing. Most of their clients are seniors, however they can be used by all ages and all fitness levels. Ms. Hastie lost 30 pounds in a year while using the poles following surgery. “They are really amazing as they offer such a fabulous abdominal workout,” she explained.
Ms. Hickey shared that the poles give people the confidence to keep moving.
Recreation Committee chair (and member of council) Barbara Erskine was very happy with the attendance and weather on Saturday. “We like to change things up and this year added the dog sled team,” stated Ms. Erskine.
She was thrilled with the “community spirit with partnerships with the fire department, volunteers and displays. Special thanks to the public works crew who did a wonderful job in creating Snow Mountain. It was well used and enjoyed by the local kids.”
Carol Corneau’s kitchen crew added panini sandwiches this year along with Winter Fest favourites chili, sausage on a bun and hot dogs.