One of Brantford’s most anticipated annual events is its winter carnival, Frosty Fest. The sixth annual Frosty Fest will be taking place in Harmony Square from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on the Feb. 14-16 Family Day weekend.
The event was created and launched by Brantford’s Freedom House, which is a Church and ministry centre, located on the lower level of Market Square. Dave Carrol, who is a pastor at the Church, fondly recalls how Frosty Fest was conceived, “About a year after Harmony Square was built…we went to Parks and Recs and asked, ‘How do we help fill the square with great things?’ and that’s when we were asked if we could hold a winter carnival”. Presently, Freedom House’s team of over 200 members and volunteers come together every year to help fund, staff, and manage the entire event.
Frosty Fest is a part of Freedom House’s Kindness Project. The idea behind this project is that by doing good, the city can be changed for the good. Dave explains, “We realized that kindness was a felt need in our culture. Kindness takes going and doing something first. We wanted to create a context for people to be involved in people’s lives on purpose and with kindness”. The effects of this project are tangible within the community of Brantford. Every year, students within Brantford receive a coupon for a free pancake breakfast and a free carnival ride at Frosty Fest. Most of the events and features during Frosty Fest are free, ensuring that everyone is able to enjoy the festivities.
The impacts of Frosty Fest are felt throughout the community, especially for businesses in the downtown core. Coffee Culture enjoys the extra business brought in by Frosty Fest, and the three-day weekend is one of their busiest times of year.
Carrol has also noticed the changes, “More and more people come regionally, we have families driving in from Waterloo, Hamilton, London,”. Over the three-day weekend, the carnival attracts almost 15,000 people and is one of the biggest winter carnivals in Ontario.
This year, Frosty Fest is expected to be bigger than ever. Nutella, who is helping to sponsor the event, will be hosting a Nutella café that will feature goodies such as Nutella S’mores and Nutella covered bacon.
Brantford Ball Hockey International will be bringing in their mini-rink and setting it up for kids to take free shots. Other features will also include an ice carving competition, free ice-skating, and ice mini putt. The annual Frosty Fest staples, like the street midway, pony rides, inflatable’s, snow slide and horse drawn trolleys will also be available this year.
Programming for kids will also include opportunities such as a day spent at ‘Superhero School’ with Captain Kindness and the Frosty Fest ‘Princess Party’.
Canadian Junior National Figure Skating Gold medal winners Mary Orr and Phelan Simpson will also be performing on Harmony Square’s ice-rink. The Trade Bank Artisans Bazaar will be set up, featuring the works of 30 artisans and craftsmen.