The Griz came through with beautiful weekend weather for the 32nnd Annual Griz Days Winter Festival in Fernie this past weekend.  With the festival barely over, the Griz Days Festival Team is already busy planning for next year’s festival.

The three-day 2009 Fernie Winter Festival, held March 6 to 8, featured events and activities for all ages, from the adorable Baby Griz race to the more rugged Extreme Griz competition; from the scavenger hunt, craft fair, pool party and snow sculpture challenge, to the snowmobile races, hockey tournaments and dummy downhill race, a good time was had by all who participated.

Griz Days is a community festival that brings people together in a celebration of winter, and is integral to maintaining a sense of community, especially during challenging times.

“A community celebration means that people get out of it what they put into it, and this year Fernie’s tremendous community spirit was reflected throughout the weekend, as adults and children lined the parade route proudly sporting their Griz costumes, and the parade entries themselves, many of which reflected hours of preparation, creativity and originality.  It does one’s heart good to see people putting in that little extra effort .  Both residents and visitors alike took the time to add their own flavor to the celebration ,” commented Festival Coordinator Lynn Flokstra.  “Fernie Griz Days is an authentic community celebration and an opportunity for Fernieites to show the rest of the world how to truly embrace winter.”

The festival also serves as an opportunity to honour our community elders, and each year honourary parade marshals are chosen to lead the Griz Days Parade. This year we were honoured to have Doug and Wilda Quail act as the 2009 Parade Marshals. The Quails are the 2008 recipients of the George Majic Spiritus Award, for their lifelong contribution to their community.

With ongoing community support and spirit witnessed this past weekend, Griz Days will not doubt continue to grow and improve. Our volunteers are the back bone of the festival, generously contributing their time and energy to the success of Griz Days. To our sponsors Columbia Basin Trust, BC Hydro, Canadian Tire and the Nohels group, and our team of dedicated volunteers, we’d like to say a huge thank you.  Your support is greatly appreciated.

Back to planning for next year… One of the new events the team is working on for 2010 is the Extreme Griz Survivor Challenge which pits individuals against the challenges of winter survival.  The grand prize is going to be awesome… stay tuned.

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