The new Rainy Lake Square saw a flurry of activity Saturday afternoon as well over 200 people of all ages gathered there for “SnOasis 6: Your Winter Fix.”
After years of holding the free family event at Lions Park and the Fort Frances Public Library, the Friends of the Museum decided to move it downtown–not only to try out a central location but also to showcase the new market square and its potential as a site for other groups to stage future community events.
And it worked.
“Today’s event is probably the most successful ‘SnOasis’ we’ve ever had,” Friends’ president Robert Schulz enthused Saturday afternoon as the event was in full swing.
“For one thing, the weather co-operated as good as it could,” he noted.
“Inside the museum, I was up there a few minutes ago and it is wall-to-wall people,” Schulz added. “And outside here, everyone is enthused with the market square.
“Everything is going well,” he remarked. “The games are being utilized.
“I don’t think we could ask for any more.”
“I think the venue is absolutely amazing,” echoed Friends’ volunteer Samantha Manty, who spearheaded the first “SnOasis” and since has been a key helper.
This year, she once again organized the children’s games.
“It’s fun to see the community out and it’s nice with all of the different areas of the market that we were able to set up different games in different spots,” she noted.
“It worked out really well, I’d have to say.
“I feel like there’s more people [than previous years],” added Manty. “And it feels a lot more like we’re a community at the square because you see people going in all different directions, but we’re also all together.
“The way we were able to set up the games makes it flow really nicely,” she remarked. “People are able to see each across the square.
“It’s a lot of fun.”
The Friends of the Museum weren’t the only ones who liked the Rainy Lake Square as a venue.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for people to come here if they haven’t before and see that it’s an all-season venue,” said Cindy Homer, who has attended “SnOasis” nearly every year along with her husband, John, and their children.
“I think this is the best spot they’ve chosen yet,” agreed John Homer.
“And it’s great for the local businesses because people will pop in the stores, too,” Cindy Homer noted.
“Bering the manager of the business right next door [Causeway General Insurance Brokers Ltd.], now that I’ve seen this, I’ll probably sponsor it [‘SnOasis’] next year and probably have my staff out doing something,” John Homer said.
“Why wouldn’t you when it’s right here? I think it’s great.
“Everything about this park [Rainy Lake Square] is going to be really good moving forward, I think,” he added.
“I like that it’s a free event, as well,” said Cindy Homer. “I hope people are donating because this is pretty nice to have for young kids.
“And it’s great to see all of these volunteers out,” her husband enthused. “Some of them I know I’d seen last year; that’s good to see.
“And you couldn’t ask for better weather.
“I think this is awesome. They did a great job,” he added.
Harold and Jocelyn Booy, who were visiting from Steinbach, Man., said they just had to check out the community event in the new market square when she had spotted signs advertising the event.
“I love it when communities do events like this,” she enthused. “This is just so neat to see this–and it’s a great day.”
The Booys also said they loved the Rainy Lake Square.
“We’re impressed,” Jocelyn Booy said.
“It’s great,” echoed Harold Booy. “It’s really something to have a sort of traditional town square.
“There’s very few towns that have that anymore.”
“We were here in the fall and I took note. I wanted to come for some of the live music events but we weren’t here on those dates,” noted Jocelyn Booy, adding she will be sure to come back here this summer for more community events at the Rainy Lake Square.
There was no shortage of activities for families to do Saturday afternoon.
The site provided plenty of room for children’s games, such as the “Frosty Toss,” tic-tac-toe, bowling, mini-golf, and more.
There also was ample space in the centre of the square for a campfire to cook bannock on a stick.
At the rear of the site, some volunteers manned a barbecue and grilled up “auger dogs” (spiral-cut hotdogs) while others ran the obstacle course and the “Mr. Dressup Relay” in the alleyway, which was blocked off for a few hours that day.
Inside the museum, kids lined up to get their faces painted by museum volunteers while others participated in “yoga story-telling” led by Meghan Spooner.
If needed, families also could use the newly-renovated, fully-accessible public washroom at the museum.
Upstairs, Friends of the Library volunteers served up hot chocolate, along with cookies and other baked goodies to a legion of children and adults.
“SnOasis” also served as the launch for Friends of the Museum’s new fundraiser–a ceramic campfire mug that reads, “Fort Frances Museum & Cultural Centre, Est. 1978.”
The mug is now available at the museum for $20 each.