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Denare Beach, Cranberry Portage prepare to host winter festivals

The Denare Beach Winter Festival and Cranberry Portage Winterfest will take place in both respective communities from Feb. 23-25.
Mike Quesnel goes for broke during the Denare Beach Winter Festival's turkey curling event in 2022.

FLINFLON REMINDER — Two communities in the region are gearing up to host their annual winter festivals later this month, both on the same weekend.

The Denare Beach Winter Festival and Cranberry Portage Winterfest will take place in both respective communities from Feb. 23-25, featuring indoor and outdoor events.

Denare Beach’s event will be based mainly around the DenarePlex and feature many festival mainstays, including the turkey curling championship, which starts at 7 p.m. Friday on the bunk behind the DenarePlex. Friday will also include a cribbage tournament, penny parade, kids events and the annual musher’s supper, which starts at 5 p.m. The festival will also include a family snow and ice sculpture competition and a colouring contest for kids from pre-K to Grade 3.

Saturday’s events will kick off with a pancake breakfast from the Denare Beach Fire Department and a family fishing derby on Shwaga Bay near Angell’s Marina, running from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The DenarePlex will host more children’s events, a bingo, dogsled rides and a boot hockey tournament starting at 3 p.m. on the bunk.

The big event of the festival, the snowmobile snow drags, is currently planned to be held at the Beaver Lake Day grounds near Spruce Avenue starting 1 p.m. Sunday. The event might require changes if weather leading into the event remains mild, but as of press time, the drags are still slated to go on as planned.

More information about the festival can be found at the Denare Beach Recreation Office or by calling (306) 362-2050.

Meanwhile, Cranberry Portage plans to host its Winterfest, with all planned events centering around the Cranberry Portage Curling Rink not far from Manitoba Highway 10.

Opening ceremonies for the festival will be held Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. sharp in the parking lot next to the curling rink, including a bonfire. That will be followed by the start of the Pearl Anderson Memorial Mini-Bonspiel inside, starting at 6:30 p.m. and continuing on until about 9 p.m. - a second slate of games will take place Saturday night, starting at 6 p.m.

The bonspiel is open to two-person teams, playing two ends apiece - there will be youth and adult categories and the event will cost $10 per team to enter.

The Cranberry Portage Arena will host a pair of public skates as part of the festival - for $2 a head, skaters can rip around the rink Feb. 23 from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. and Feb. 25 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. The Winterfest will also include a pancake breakfast at 9 a.m. Feb. 24, hosted by the Cranberry Portage Fire Department, and the Rick Murray memorial cribbage tournament upstairs at the curling rink, starting at 10 a.m. on both Feb. 23-24 for $10 a team.

There will be activities for kids Saturday afternoon, including face painting, games, singing and Bombardier rides along with northern skills competitions for kids and adults, including arm wrestling, leg wrestling, goose and moose calling, nail pounding, log throw and log balance competitions. Also included will be a portage race, a bannock bake-off and a pair of memorial events - the Norman Brightnose memorial Swede saw competition and the Lillian Brightnose memorial tea boil. Those competitions will take place at the curling rink parking lot from 2 p.m.- 5 p.m.

Sunday will feature a showshoe scavenger hunt at the curling rink starting at 10 a.m. and a potluck supper starting at 5 p.m., along with a bannock and smoked fish contest and prizes for best dressed.

Throughout the weekend, there will also be a scavenger hunt for the Winterfest mascot, Murray the Moose. Clues will be shared on the festival’s social media channels until he is found.