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2011 Winter Carnival promises to banish winter blues

Winter Carnival '10 - Andrew Zwicker Photo
If anyone out there has a case of the post holiday or winter blues, an antidote is in the works for you! The last weekend of January, the 28th to 30th, marks the 114th year of Rossland’s annual winter bash, the Winter Carnival, and this year promises to be so chock-a-block with action even the most die-hard of hibernators will want to get out and participate in the fun.
 
The Carnival’s schedule is packed, and will include the premiere events many look forward to all year, like the Sonny Samuelson Bobsled Race down Spokane Street on Saturday morning, the John Heintz Cup Relay on Sunday morning, and a newly-expanded two-day version of the
Rail Jam on Queen Street by the post office. The weekend will kick off with a parade on Friday night, and president of the Carnival board, Kelly Acheson, says that entrants who wear a costume or put in a float will receive a Red Mountain season’s pass.
 
Mountain Kingdom youngsters will have plenty of choice went it comes to filling their itinerary that weekend. Apart from Friday night’s parade and it’s subsequent extravaganza, Saturday’s schedule includes a children’s art exhibit and silent auction at Rouge Gallery, a magic show at the library, and a GT race down Spokane Street after the bobsled race. On Sunday from noon to 2pm, there is a kids carnival at the Lions Campground, where there will be avalanche transceiver demonstrations, snowshoeing, and snowmobile rides provided by the West Kootenay Snowgoers, a local snowmobiling club.
 
And of course adults will have their fare share of activities to choose from, like the beer gardens, the Blizzard Music Festival, and the 22nd Annual Rotary Wine Festival.
 
Also notable during Winter Carnival is the opening of the Rossland Museum for the weekend, which has new displays featuring Kimberley Joines and George Gray.
 
While no events are in peril of either not happening or being cancelled due to lack of manpower, President of the Carnival board and self-described Carnival Princess, Kelly Acheson, says the event is still in dire need of volunteers.
 
The bobsled event is one are in need of helping hands. While the city takes care of moving the snow to the site, the bobsled run still requires an enormous amount of preparation to get it ready for use and volunteers are critical. The whole event needs about three dozen people in order to operate properly. “We six to eight volunteers to just lay the snow fencing and post signage,” notes Acheson. “Ideally, snow fencing should be laid continuously top to bottom along the run, which prevents spectators from crossing the track, but lack of resources hasn’t made this possible yet.”
 
Other tasks necessary for the smooth running of the bobsled event that require volunteer help are timekeeping and helping with crowd control.  “It’s critical that we have volunteers for the bobsled; if we can’t make that event safe, then we can’t run it,” Acheson says.
 
The kids carnival also really needs volunteers. “We need six to eight volunteers for that event, and it’s a two-hour shift on Sunday afternoon.” Jobs include helping kids put on snowshoes, ensuring safety, and helping to manage the five or six activity stations the event has on offer.
 
“If we all pitch in, it’s not a huge job for anyone,” notes Acheson.
 
Continued success for the Winter Carnival is strongly contingent upon a healthy volunteer base. “We need a minimum of 120 volunteers to pull off a quality carnival like we’re used to seeing,” Acheson states. “The entire event runs into peril when you’re running short. People that are involved get burnt out and the quality of the production could seriously be at risk.”  
 
Kelly Acheson has been involved with the Carnival for 13 years, and this year will be her last as president of the board. She urges everyone to get involved. “We just can’t get by without help from the community,” she says. “It’s super fun to be involved with the Rossland Winter Carnival! Put a float in the parade, but a bobsled in the bobsled race, enter a team in the volleyball tournament. Get out there!”
 
If you’re interested in volunteering for the Carnival, the person to contact is Caroline Rouselle.  Her email is caroline@revolutioncycles.ca, or there is a page on the Carnival’s web site where you can sign up to volunteer. That link is here 
 
The full schedule of events for the Carnival weekend is here.