Fun for the whole family at SnOasis 10

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

Pull on your winter clothes, SnOasis is ready to celebrate its tenth anniversary with a day full of fun.

Following some final adjustments and planning, Samantha Manty of the Friends of the Museum revealed the full schedule of events and partners with the Times, which is sure to bring fun for the entire family this Saturday, March 4, 2023. The event will be taking place across multiple locations – a first for SnOasis – which Manty said was to really drive home the point that the day is for the entire family, from youngest to oldest member.

“We’ve finalized everything, and we’re so excited,” Manty said.

“SnOasis 10 is happening on March 4, this Saturday, and the Friends of the Museum are just so, so excited to see it all coming together. We’re really thrilled to have multiple locations this year and all kinds of different activities for all age groups. We’re really trying to encompass a day for the whole family, together, to get out and have some fun and enjoy all that winter has to offer.”

While past SnOasis events have usually been confined to one location or general area, this year the fun is spread out between several areas, each with their own activities and other things to do.

“We thought for a decade of SnOasis, we should really make it bigger and have as many community partners on board as we could. Just really encouraging families to come out for the day and have fun.”

While Manty stressed that families don’t necessarily need to attend every location over the course of the day, each one visited does add another entry into a special draw for an family annual membership to the Fort Frances Museum Cultural Centre, making it worthwhile to check out each location, if only for a short time.

Kicking the day’s events off will be dot painting and a special STEM Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Fort Frances Museum Public Library Technology Centre, brought to SnOasis through the Northwestern Ontario Metis Child and Family Services and the library staff, respectively.

The next event, in chronological order for the day, takes place out at the Eighth Street Trails, where a few community partners are teaming up to offer some outdoor fun.

“From 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. we’re very excited to have the Eighth Street Trails as one of our locations,” Manty said.

“If families go to the curling club, they’ll be able to be fitted for cross-country skis or snowshoes and they’ll be able to try those out. As well, there will be interpretive trail walks put on by the Stewardship Committee. We were very lucky to be able to get Henry Miller to do one of his nature walks, as well as Don Dickson.”

Following the trail events, the curling club will also be holding a learn-to curl session, which will require waivers for younger curlers, stretchy comfortable pants and indoor shoes in order to take part. The Eighth Street Trails will also feature a campfire for roasting marshmallows along the way.

The main event, as always, will take place in downtown Fort Frances from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. where it will offer all of the activities from SnOasis past that families have come to know and love.

“The main event is at the Rainy Lake Square and Fort Frances Museum and Cultural Centre, and that is where you will find our famous auger dogs,” Manty said.

“We’ll also be doing outdoor games and activities like ice bowling, glacier golf, frosty toss and a few other ones that have become famous over the years. We’ll be having a photo booth, bannock on a stick, with some fires to keep us warm, along with the naming of our Jay mascot.”

The SnOasis committee had been soliciting names for their grey jay mascot for the past several weeks, and the final choice will be revealed during the opening ceremonies at the Rainy Lake Square. The individual who submitted the winning name will also receive a SnOasis swag bag for their contribution.

The Rainy Lake Square will also feature a bear teaching story walk, or Makwa-Odibaajimo-Mazinaigan, courtesy of Seven Generations Education Institute (SGEI), another community partner for this year’s SnOasis event.

Inside the museum at the same time, Manty said families will be able to warm up with hot chocolate and cookies, face painting, a colouring station, a busker cafe for local musicians, and storytime yoga sessions.

Adding to the fun of the day, Manty said the Fort Frances Seniors Centre will be holding an all-ages bridge tournament at the centre, with prizes available to be won. Manty stressed that the event was open to everyone, but a knowledge of how to play bridge would be required.

The final event of this year’s SnOasis will be held at the Memorial Sports Centre, where a free skate will take place from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Helmets are required for skaters taking part.

The list of sponsors for the event include all of the partners listed above, as well as groups like the Friends of the Fort Frances Public Library, the Downtown BIA, Ink Spotz Apparel+, the Rainy Lake Nordic Ski Club, Safeway Fort Frances and more, and Manty said it’s exciting for the organizing committee to see how much support the event has received from businesses and organizations in the area.

“I want to say how fortunate we are to have an amazing Friends of the Museum group who have worked tirelessly to put on this event for the community,” Manty said.

“We’re really hoping to see a lot of faces out, a lot of people coming out to enjoy all these wonderful things the community is putting on together. Big thanks to all of our amazing community partners who have joined on this year, we wouldn’t be able to do it without them. It’s very exciting. It’s a really fun day for everyone. “

To see the complete schedule of events for SnOasis 10, head to the Fort Frances Museum and Cultural Centre Facebook page.