SnOasis ramping up for exciting tenth anniversary

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

The Fort Frances Friends of the Museum want you to save the date as they ramp up to the ten-year anniversary of a beloved community and cultural event.

SnOasis is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, marking a decade of outdoor and cultural fun for the whole family. Scheduled for Saturday, March 4, 2023, the event is aiming to be bigger than ever with plenty of different activities set to run throughout the day. Moving away from formats of the past, the event will be spread over three different areas throughout the day, each offering something different to experience.

Friends of the Museum member Sam Manty said the goal has been to make the day bigger and better than ever in an effort to bring families in the district together after years of COVID-related cancellations.

“The Friends of the Museum are very excited to be bringing back SnOasis,” Manty said.

“It’s been a long break, since the COVID pandemic, so we’re really excited to bring families together again for such a great free event. The event this year is actually called ‘SnOasis 10: Together Again!’ and we’ve decided since it’s SnOasis 10, we’re trying to grow the event a little bit. We’re hoping to have multiple locations throughout the day.”

Manty explained that the event will kick off with activities at the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre in the morning, with more activities taking place at the Rainy Lake Square and Fort Frances Museum in the afternoon. Bridging the two different locations will be activities at the Eighth Street Trails, and each different location will feature plenty of community partners, though Manty said there is still a bit of work to be done in confirming who will be taking part and what they will be doing.

“We have quite a few more community partners on board this year as well, we’re just waiting for confirmation on what they’re going to do,” Manty said.

“I want to leave a few surprises, but we’re extremely excited that there are so many people interested in helping out this year.”

The event this year is also planning to have buskers take part, and Manty noted there are still some spots in the day’s schedule to accommodate more entertainers inside the museum where they, and their instruments, can keep warm. Anyone interested in busking during the event can contact the Friends of the Museum on their Facebook page or the SnOasis event page.

One surprise Manty definitely didn’t want to keep was that the committee and Friends of the Museum are looking for the public’s help in naming their whisky jack mascot. Originally designed by artist and musician Alex Marusyk, himself a former local, the winter-weather-ready whisky jack, also known as the Canada jay or grey jay, has been nameless for some years now, and Manty said it’s about time to change that.

“For the past few years we’ve had a new mascot for SnOasis, our beautiful whisky jack, or grey jay, and he needs a name,” Manty explained.

“This year we are putting out a naming competition for our whisky jack mascot. We’re looking for suggestions of names, and anybody can enter. Then we’re actually going to reveal his new name at SnOasis.”

The Friends of the Museum are hoping to draw in plenty of community partners to make SnOasis a party to remember! This blast from the past is from 2017, featuring the ever-popular bannock-on-a-stick. Organizers are looking for a community-wide event, with multiple locations. – Duane Hicks/file photo

Manty said that the individual who submits the name that is chosen will receive a “pretty awesome” winter pack for their submission, and everyone is welcome to submit their choice for name either to the Friends of the Museum Facebook page, the snOasis event page, or by emailing the museum directly at

Overall, while some of the finer details of the SnOasis event are still being worked out, Manty said she’s envisioning the day as a fun-filled opportunity for families to spend time together being active and creative after so many seasons of COVID difficulties.

“The whole goal is to get families out enjoying themselves and having some fun in the winter, which can get long sometimes,” she said.

“It’s all funded by the Friends of the Museum, organized by the Friends of the Museum, and it’s a good way for people to remember the museum is here in our community, and is a really important part of our community.”

For more on SnOasis 10: Together Again!, as well as a more comprehensive list of community partners and the day’s events, keep your eye on the Fort Frances Times in the approach to Saturday, March 4, 2023.