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Fun activities, music, animals and more in store at Salmon Arm Winter Fun Fest

Event returns to fairgrounds for Family Day long weekend
The A.L. Fortune Drumline will return for the 2023 Winter Fun Fest at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds, Feb. 18 and 19. (File photo)

Winter Fest returns to Salmon Arm this month with plenty of family friendly entertainment and activities to beat the winter blues.

There are a number of changes in store for Winter Fun Fest, an event that premiered in November 2021 on the south Salmon Arm fairgrounds. This year’s event takes place over the Family Day long weekend, Feb. 18-19, and will be held on the north fairgrounds. In addition to the different date and location, the 2023 fest, organized by the Salmon Arm Fair and Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association, includes a variety of new activities, as well as the popular attractions of the first fair.

“One of the areas that people wanted to see more of was kids’ games, more activities for kids and families,” said festival organizer Jim McEwan.

The 2023 Winter Fun Fest schedule includes a variety of physical challenges including snow croquet, a hay-bale toss, the ladies and little ladies frying pan toss, the men’s and little men’s frozen gumboot toss and suitcase races.

“Have you ever been at the airport when you’re running from one gate to another and you have your suitcase?” asks McEwan, explaining the event will involve carrying a suitcase in a timed obstacle race. “It’s challenging enough to run in the snow, but to run with a suitcase – we’ll have it designed so kids can participate as well. They’ll just have a smaller suitcase.”

Other competitive festival options include an ice-cream eating contest and a snow sculpture event, where participants are given an eight-foot-square block to carve into a snowy masterpiece.

There’ll be a Meet the Farm Critters petting zoo, heavy horse sleigh rides, face painting, balloon art and plenty of local talent providing music and entertainment.

“Christine’s face painting, Maggie’s balloon art, Kiki the Eco Elf and the Winter Queen are scheduled to make an appearance,” said McEwan. “Guests can sit back and enjoy an entertainment tent with live music from Green Room, Blu & Kelly Hopkins, Kiki the Eco Elf, Hat Trick Band, In My Orange Kitchen, Shuswap Pipes and Drums, Shuswap Dance Centre, and the Canoe Rockers.

“A wonderful selection of food from Biggz BBQ, Mystic Pizza, Arma Greek Food, Momma’s Bannock and hot chocolate from the Girl Guides.”

Read more: Community to celebrate Salmon Arm’s Winter Fun Fest and Parade in early 2023

Read more: VIDEO: First night of Salmon Arm Winter Fun Fest draws festive crowd

Returning for this year’s Winter Fun Fest is the marketplace, which will include 28 local vendors, and the Winter Fun Fest parade, which will take participating entries from the fairgrounds to Shuswap Street to the downtown. The parade, at 5 p.m. on the 18th, will turn right on Hudson Avenue, continue to Ross Street, left on Lakeshore back to Shuswap and the fairgrounds. Barriers will be set up so drivers should plan accordingly.

“It’s going to be a light-up parade so I’m really hoping all the entrants are all lit up and will be quite colourful as they make their way through downtown and back,” said McEwan, adding there is still room for parade entries. “We still have room for entries and encourage all service groups, businesses and sport teams to enter. All the details and online entry form are available at

Downtown Salmon Arm is getting in the Winter Fun Fest spirit with a Hot Chocolate Trail. Tickets are limited and are available at

Down the road, McEwan would like to see see Winter Fun Fest grow beyond the downtown. But for the time being he’s excited about what the 2023 event has to offer, and looks forward to seeing people from throughout the Shuswap at the fairgrounds on Feb. 18 and 19.

“Salmon Arm and Shuswap region is well established as a summer destination,” said McEwan. “With the Winter Fun Fest we have an opportunity to promote a winter celebration showcasing the region as a winter destination as well.”

For more information, visit

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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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