The common but noticeably cold temperatures of Feb. 16 certainly didn’t stop people of all ages from getting out to enjoy Alberta’s 19th annual Family Day celebrations. Activities at the arena ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and included skating on the main ice, pick up shinny on the small ice, skating on the outdoor rink, a bonfire lit and monitored by members of the Ponoka Fire Department, the ever popular horse drawn sleigh rides, face painting and the opportunity to enjoy hot dogs and hot chocolate served by members of the Ponoka Food Bank.
Throughout the afternoon, donations to the Ponoka Food Bank were being accepted at the door as well. This year 300 pounds of food $117.28 in cash donations were donated in total. While these results were down by almost half in comparison to last year’s total, everything given to help support their cause is appreciated.
At the Ponoka Aquaplex, the pool was packed with those eager to partake in the family swim held from 2-4 p.m. followed by a public swim from 4-6 p.m. At 3 p.m. one group of young people showcased their fearlessness by springing off the diving board, while another group of youngsters simply wanted to relax in the hot tub and sauna.
Whether it was getting to take the grandchildren out for a skate, waiting in line to get a face painted like Spiderman, hanging out with friends, getting to take the whole family out for a swim, or taking advantage of the variety of activities offered while enjoying a day off from work – all answers to being asked what brought them out for Family Day – it was clear a good time was had by all.
“There was an excellent turnout,” said Mayor Larry Henkelman. “It looked like everyone was having a great time and a special thanks to the hard work of everyone involved making that possible.”
Some people also mentioned their family day activities wouldn’t stop at 3 p.m.
The mother of a family of five said their family had planned to go visit relatives and friends in and around Ponoka, while another family would be heading out for supper and another family planned to rent and watch movies and enjoy treats.
The day that was initiated by Premier Don Getty in 1989 and appreciated by Albertans since it was officially celebrated in 1990, has since spread to an additional three provinces including Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario and with hopes of being nationally recognized in the future.