September 20, 2020

BY KRIS MANUEL
Although it wasn’t snowy outside on Jan. 19, the winter bliss was not missing at a Fergus museum’s Winterfest.
The second annual event is one of several held at the Wellington County Museum and Archive throughout the year. The three-day long event ran from Jan. 19 to 21 and reminded folks of the joy that used to be associated with the cold season.
And as the day went on, families and some snowfall trickled in to join the season’s festivity.
However, the unique activities we get to experience living in Canada are becoming more difficult to enjoy. As seen over time, snowfall hardly stays on the ground for more than a few days, and Canadians are seeing fewer white Christmases.
“We tend to complain about winter, but we forget that it’s unique,” said Beth Dyer. “It’s just nice to celebrate winter.”
Dyer has been the museum’s assistant programmer for about four and a half years. She introduced guests, along with Sue Hosking, a volunteer, to two miniature ponies, 11-month-old Barney and his mother Butterscotch. Both Dyer and Hosking were quite content spending the day introducing the soft and gentle barn animals to smiling visitors who curiously made their way to the stable.
The event started off quietly, with only a few families showing up. Tobogganing, skating and snowshoeing had to be cancelled due to a lack of snow. Instead, outdoor activities such as mini putt, Frisbee golf and an outdoor scavenger hunt took place.
“The weather really plays a key role in whether people come, especially to an event that has an outdoor component,” said activity programmer Libby Walker.
There were also indoor arts and crafts and exhibits throughout the museum. And volunteering her time to share some joy, Betty Knight had brown bags full of treats from a popcorn machine and steaming cups of hot chocolate to warm chilly guests.
Winterfest was created so families could spend time together without the distractions of modern technology.
Dyer said, “We try to keep the basic things that people don’t experience anymore.
“Nowadays we might sit inside and have all the electronics and things but for years people went out and snowshoed, they went out with horses and they enjoyed the outdoors. So it’s kind of nice to bring that into focus again.”