By Tuan Minh Nguyen
The Belleville Winter Family Fun Fest 2023 was scheduled to begin at a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12, but from 10:30 a.m. on, a long line of vehicles had already formed along Wallbridge-Loyalist Road to enter Loyalist College to attend the event. Staff were positioned at every entrance of the campus to guide attendees. This is the first time Loyalist has hosted the festival.
Special events co-ordinator for Belleville Chamber of Commerce Tiffany Young said that there were around 6,000 attendees at this year’s festival.
“I’m so grateful. There’re so many people here,” she said. “Definitely more than we expected this early on in the day, but I think it turned out fabulous.”
Young said that the Belleville Chamber of Commerce and Loyalist College had been in discussions for three months to plan for this event.
“We each came up with a wish list of what we wanted to see at a winter festival. We brought all those things together and managed what we could or what we could not do,” she said.
“And then, over the course of those three months, it’s coming together and seeing what attractions are available, what everyone thought would be the most fun attractions, and what they usually expect at any of these events.”
Young said that there were 60 people working, including volunteers from Loyalist, to prepare for this event.
“Loyalist have great facilities indoors and outdoors, so we were able to use all of that,” she said. “It’s just been a great partnership with Loyalist. It’s a big team.”
Karan Sharma, staff at Student Life, who is also a volunteer for the Belleville Winter Family Fun Fest, said that he got information about a big event being held at Loyalist two months ago. He had been preparing for the event for a month.
“It’s amazing, it’s truly amazing,” he said. “I’ve been here for almost a year, but I haven’t seen any kind of event which gives us opportunity to have everyone come together like this.”
Attendee Chireg Patel found out about the festival through Loyalist’s Facebook page. He said that his children were very excited to attend the event.
“It’s very good and it’s very exciting. And there’s a lot of stuff for small babies,” he said. “My kids are very excited to see all the different kinds of activities.”
The Belleville Winter Family Fun Fest featured winter-themed arts and crafts and attractions. This year’s festival included a variety of activities such as a fire & ice show, appearances by Disney Princesses Anna and Elsa, lumberjack shows, ice sculpture and demonstration, horse-drawn carriage rides, free hot chocolate, free maple candies, free give-aways and food trucks on site.