‘Snoasis’ offers fun for whole family
Providing some family fun during a winter with no end in sight, the “Snoasis” community event proved very popular this past weekend.
Not only did three local teams complete their snow sculptures, but more than 120 adults and children stopped by the East End Hall on Saturday afternoon to check out the creations, play games, and have a snack.
“All the families that came out were really, really excited to be there,” she enthused.
“It was really nice seeing all the kids smiling.
“There were a lot of families out there,” Manty added. “It proves that the community enjoys family programming and things like that.”
While it’s unclear exactly how many people attended, Manty said about 120 ballots were cast during the “Fan Favourite” voting process—and certainly not everyone who came out Saturday did so.
Activities ranged from ice bowling, face-painting, and colouring to letting kids paint and dig away at snow blocks, including the fourth 8’x8’x8’ snow cube which no team had adopted to carve.
“There were kids out there of all different ages and they were all having fun,” said Manty.
“It was great to see everyone so happy and enjoying themselves.”
The “Friends of the Museum” also were on hand Saturday selling hotdogs and hot chocolate while new business “From the Grind Up” sold hot gourmet coffee and some baked goods.
Manty thanked the community for its support of the event, including the Fort Frances Times, 93.1 The Border, Webb’s Power Shack, high school student volunteers, and her family members for setting up the boxes to form the snow cubes and then blowing snow into them.
As for the snow sculptures, “Building Bridges” by Lindsay Hamilton and Joe Galbraith won the “Judges’ Choice” award.
Manty said the race was “extremely close” between all three entries but in the end, judges Anna Pierroz, Nathan Cousineau, and Lisa Lee chose Hamilton and Galbraith’s piece.
The prize was a $75 gift certificate from Boston Pizza.
Their sculpture depicted several human figures forming a “bridge,” supporting each other and lifting each other up.
“I just thought that within the community, there is a lot of different groups, that in my opinion, should merge together to make a stronger community,” said Galbraith, who had come up with the idea for the design.
“I thought this was a way of sending a message,” he added.
Hamilton said the idea ties into the theme of “Our Community,” and also ties into Galbraith’s social work and her own work with Community Living here.
“We have to work together in order to cross the divide, to bring people together,” she stressed.
“Everyone has to pitch in and help with it.”
After initial work with a chainsaw to cut away large areas of their snow cube, Hamilton said tools they used included hand saws and even kitchen utensils (spatulas, spoons, etc.)
“Trowels are very helpful, as well, especially when you have your basic shape blocked out and you kind of want to shave it away because you don’t want to take too much off,” she explained.
Hamilton noted sculpture is all about subtraction, and that “it’s hard to add back once you’ve made that cut.”
Similarly, a saw can be used to cut snow and then later the sculptor can use the blade as a scraper to slowly take down the form.
Hamilton, who spearheaded the inaugural snow sculpture contest last year as a member of the Rainy River Arts Collective, said she enjoyed being a participant for a second year in a row.
“I was here working by myself for a lot of hours, and then as soon as people came and started working on theirs, there was a lot of energy,” she noted.
“A lot of creative energy happens when there’s other people creating and you’re creating—it does give you a boost of motivation.
“You feel like you’re working on something together,” she reasoned.
“I would like more people to participate in the sculpture aspect of it,” added Hamilton, though noting she was glad to see families come out for the fun day.
Galbraith admitted his participation this year was made easier by teaming up with an experienced sculptor in Hamilton, but added it was “a good experience” and next year he might try to give it a shot on his own.
Meanwhile, the people who came by Saturday and cast votes decided the snow sculpture made by the Fort Frances Times’ team was the “Fan Favourite.”
The sculpture of an ice fisherman, called “Fishing Fantasy: The Catch of a Lifetime,” earned them $25 worth of Chamber dollars donated by the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce.
Their sculpture featured a high level of detail, ranging from fish, turtles, and a mermaid depicted beneath the ice to the shingles and siding on a pair of ice shacks, boot laces, the pattern on a scarf, and a fishing rod made of an icicle.
This is the second time the Times has had a team sculpt snow, but the job was made a lot easier this time around thanks to the fact that the snow was blown into the 8’x8’x8’ boxes rather than dumped in.
This meant the snow was smooth and even throughout the solid snow cube, not full of chunks.
“It made everything so much better, easier, and made for better-quality sculptures,” said Leanne Donaldson, captain of the Times’ team, which also included Susan Taylor, Debbie Ballard, Don Cumming, Duane Hicks, Tanya Cumming, and John Pierce.
“Because of the good snow quality, our sculpture could have a lot more detail and we could do it a lot quicker,” she added.
“It was really kind of a pleasure to work with. It wasn’t nearly as frustrating as the year before.”
Donaldson said the angler not only represented “Our Community,” but the team felt it was fun and people would enjoy it.
“It has a sense of humour about it,” she smiled.
“Our sculpture this year was good for a team because everybody could work on different sides . . . put their own stamp on it,” she added.
Donaldson noted the sculpture has proven to be popular and people are abuzz about it.
“I thought it turned out just like we wanted it to,” she said.
If she had any criticism of the contest, Donaldson felt the location behind the former Huffman School was somewhat out of the way. Last year, the sculptures were in more well-travelled parts of town, such as the Lions Park.
Donaldson said she’d be interested in sculpting next year, and urged other teams to step forward and give it a try.
“It’s hard when you first walk out there and see this giant block of snow,” she conceded. “But once you kind of dive into it. . . .
“If you have it drawn out on graph paper, you have an idea how much to cut away,” she suggested.
“That makes a big difference.”
The third sculpture was “Totemly Awesome,” made by Manty, Sarah Marusyk, Mandy Lahti, Barb Marusyk, Kevin Marusyk, and Ben Morelli, with various other family members manning chainsaws.
Their sculpture was of a thunderbird totem pole in a canoe.
“It was fun to be a part of,” enthused Manty. “I feel like since I was trying to get people out there so badly to do it, it was only fair I tried it out myself.
“We had a blast,” she added. “The hardest part was whittling it down from a big block, getting the concept of sculpting.
“None of us are real sculptors so that was the hardest part.
“But once you get into it and start actually carving in the details, all of us had so much fun,” added Manty, hinting the one snow cube at the site which was not carved could be a future project for her and Sarah Marusyk.
Manty said the concept of a thunderbird in a canoe originally was going to be an inukshuk in a canoe, but the team decided that there’s not much detail in that and wanted to try something more difficult.
“Sarah Marusyk, she’s a very creative individual, so I think it was kind of her vision and we just went with it,” remarked Manty.
“For our first carving, we were really proud,” she added. “We weren’t sure what was going to happen—we just went out to have fun—and at the end of the day, we loved it.”
Teams were able to start working on their sculptures last Tuesday and had to finish by this past Sunday (March 10).
Looking ahead, Manty will be turning her event organizing skills to doing something for Earth Day (April 22).
She also will be working with the Chamber of Commerce to plan family-oriented activities, possibly tying together the Métis exhibit currrently at the museum and the Chamber’s Business & Community Expo at the end of April.