By Bonnie Harris
When I was a kid – Starting out that way is sure to make a lot of people mentally review their escape routes. But bear with me, this story is about our town as it is today. So. When I was a kid, we played outside more, all four seasons. For one thing, there was less to do inside. Our chief entertainment was arguing over whether to watch Lassie or Roy Rogers. (Yes Beth and Billy, I remember that I always lost at rock-paper-scissors, and I do still think you cheated.)
Now, though, getting kids outside to play in the winter requires bribery and a week's pay for ski gear and passes.
That's one of the reasons I'm so happy, proud and even downright delighted to be part of Family FrostFest here in Bobcaygeon. This was our second year and I for one am hoping it becomes a long tradition.
When I joined Impact 32, FrostFest had not yet been concocted. Then, one meeting, we happened to be tossing around ideas for off-season events and attractions. We don't know how long Carly Poole had been ruminating about the idea or whether it just popped into her mind. . . but she soon got us all starting to think about the possibility of a snow sculpture event, one that would help families get outside and celebrate Family Day weekend.
What the heck is a snow sculpture anyway? I googled it when I got home.
We couldn't see any downside. It fit right into our mission as a group because it would boost Bobcaygeon in a way that benefitted residents, tourists and visitors. It also fit right into our budget which, as you may know, is zero. We're a not-for-profit, and any money we raise is earmarked for community projects like building more dock space so boaters can park and stay awhile and help Bobcaygeon prosper.
We got to work on the details. Ann Adare came up with five games that kids could play in the snow. Carly and Catherine Pentiricci designed gorgeous signs and posters. Tom and Wendy Hunt and Kawartha Coffee made it possible for us to offer free hot chocolate to everyone. Several Impact 32 volunteers said they could probably make enough cookies.Trent Severn Waterway allowed us to use their land and building as headquarters. Carol Kimmerly and Nicole Campbell got excited about bringing mascot Bobbie Constellation to life. I started talking it up to newspapers, magazines and radio stations, snowballing them with media releases and pleas for free coverage. It began to look like we were going to make it happen.
What could possibly go wrong? Well, weather of course, but luck was with us and Family Day Weekend blew in with enough snow and even lots of sun.
We ran FrostFest for all three days of the Family Day weekend that first year. It was an unbelievably happy and uplifting time. One look through the photos and it's plain to see. Kids were outside having fun with their families. Small groups of adults really seemed to be getting into it. Friends and neighbours and strangers were chatting and sharing shovels. We served gallons of hot chocolate, hundreds of cookies, and exhausted our volunteer selves climbing over snowbanks and running around trying to make everything work out for everybody.
Later at the FrostFest de-brief, everyone agreed that we had to keep doing this. And we also all agreed that one day would be just as wonderful, and not as hard on our tired legs, as three. We committed to another year.
Family Day weekend 2018 dawned and we again got lucky with snow and weather. Our preparations had been less nerve-wracking. After all, we flew by the seat our our snow-pants last year and it was glorious, so this year we didn't lose as much sleep wondering if anyone would come.
Come they did, and – could it have been even better than last year? I think so! Almost as many people came in one day as in three days last year. We had about the same number of snow sculptures and people were again amazing us with downright jaw-dropping works of frozen art.
We followed the same recipe for success as last year with minor tweaks. Shakers Restaurant and Tim Hortons came through with the coffee. We ladies baked cookies and were helped out by nice local moms as well as by a contribution from realtor Kelli Lovell, and by Amanda Pascoe who made beautiful and delicious frosted snowflake cookies. We ran Ann's games again, and added a new bolo game hand-crafted by a new volunteer, Cheryl Burgess. Our trusty photographer again dedicated her time and talent.
New memories were made this year as we all showed our Bobcaygeon Love at the new arch made by the Impact 32 beautification team.
Our Stakeholder Chair, Catherine, added a new touch of brilliance in the form of the happiest little Video/Dance Challenge you'll ever see. Watching it, you're witnessing real Bobcaygeon-style family fun and you know it.
Will we continue with FrostFest? I think so. There's something right in it. It's for everyone, and it's free for everyone too. What's not to love?
Here's to next year. May our future be filled to the brim with hot chocolate and cookies, and especially with that most Canadian of all essentials – plenty of good packing snow!
This year's Impact 32 FrostFest volunteers:
Interested in joining the team? Impact 32 welcomes new volunteers.
We've asked Ann Adare to kick off Impact 32's new blog space with her fond recollections of Kawartha Dairy to help celebrate their 80th anniversary. You're in for a treat as we take a stroll down Ann's heart-warming memory lane.
Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream
by Ann Adare
Lately, I have been contemplating my love for Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream, which has been spurred to new levels with the recent opening of the proverbial vault to allow Orange Pineapple, my all-time favorite, to come out and play. I have also been thinking about the Crowe family’s generosity and how it overflows much like the oversize scoops on their cones. Eighty years of helping out charitable and worthy causes too numerous to count, employing residents and pleasing us with their treats. I have been trying to write a thank you letter to Kawartha Dairy to let them know how much we truly appreciate everything they do for our lovely little town, most of which I am sure the majority of us will never know, but what to say in my letter, how best to honour the 80th Anniversary?
The Dairy’s wonderful history and story of growth is documented quite nicely on their website so I didn’t feel that simply recounting the history again here would do justice to a proper thank you. During the thought process that one goes through to figure out how best to express a thank you, I realize so many good memories for me somehow feature Kawartha Dairy. There are many others out there too who can recite countless stories of fun times shared with Kawartha Dairy. Whether it be memorable trips to the dairy, a summer job or long-time career, a gathering for a special occasion – the cake topped with one of the many scrumptious flavours of ice cream, or a town event featuring volunteer scoopers doling out free cooling treats to those waiting eagerly in line – we all have fond memories when it comes to Kawartha Dairy.
We do not all agree when it comes to that famously delectable ice cream, even the closest of friends and family can be divided on what is the best flavour, each having their own favorite which in itself stirs memories of friendly family debates and contests to see who would get the say as to which flavour(s) would make the cut on the grocery list in any given week. It is in all of these memories that we can discover what the Kawartha Dairy means to us. So, my thank you to Kawartha Dairy for their 80 years is to share my personal fond memories of how they played a part in our family’s rituals and are firmly woven into the fabric of my life.
Years ago, when my family first started our trips to Bobcaygeon, we rented our cottage from a lovely couple, Bill and Lila Mulligan. Anxious to start our Bobcaygeon adventures, we always seemed to arrive just a little too early. Mrs. Mulligan would emerge from the cottage, apron on, broom and duster in hand to let us know that she wasn’t quite ready for us. Dad would always say, “Hmmm, I wonder what we can do while we wait”. Mrs. Mulligan would wink and disappear back into the cottage and come out carrying two warm wet wash clothes. My sister and I would race back to the car, we knew where we were going.
The second phase of our arrival ritual, and certainly the most keenly anticipated, was about to begin. Off to Kawartha Dairy we would go for Orange Pineapple cones. Dad was always very fussy with his cars and we were not allowed to eat in them. When it came to ice cream, this was probably a very good rule. We sat on the grass, the ice cream was eaten slowly, savored, which ultimately resulted in rivers of lovely goo running down arms and sometimes being licked from dripping elbows. The messier we got as we ate the better, as it simply served to enhance the experience but of course Mom had the trusty wash cloths at the ready. Mom sometimes strayed to the Strawberry and my sister, well she was adventurous and tried a different flavour every time she had the chance, but Dad and I we were staunch supporters of the Orange Pineapple.
We would sit and map out our summer to come, making decisions between mouthfuls of goodness. We planned trips to the library to find books to read under a cooling tree in the hot summer sun or snuggled into a window seat on a rainy day. Would the library have the Nancy Drew and Tin Tin books we hadn’t yet read? We took bets on who would catch, and of course release, the most frogs in the old boathouse and ventured guesses on how many tanks of gas we would consume driving back and forth between the cottage and Boyd Island for hikes and lunches. We wondered what rides would be at the summer street carnival, what the story of the day would be at Norm’s Variety and whether or not this would be the year that I finally mastered water skis. I was a late bloomer in that regard. We assigned bedrooms and summer chores – somehow, no matter how hard I negotiated, I always ended up being responsible for cutting the grass.
With plans made, it was time to complete the special annual journey and we bundled back into the car and headed to the Lake. There were regular trips to the dairy all summer long but it was that first well-orchestrated “early arrival” trip each year that was a necessity to start the season off properly.
As the summer unfolded, the trips to the dairy didn’t always include the entire family. Sometimes my Dad and I would head into town to pick up a few things and by a few things I mean that all important ice cream. Moments in time, just the two of us, Dad and Daughter time.The ritual turned from summer plans over ice cream to life plans – the two of us chatting over ice cream. We talked of my new-found summer friends, some of whom were boys! We shared hopes and dreams for education, career and family, Dad sharing stories of his youth always with a lesson in there somewhere – never judging, always guiding. Dad counseled me to show kindness to others but to do so without the expectation of reward, to work hard and always do your best – report card marks weren’t as important as the comments about effort. It is ironic when I reflect on it now, being schooled on that while sitting in front of a business that exemplifies generosity and the giving spirit, a family business that has consistently given it their all.
Time moved on, our go-to Orange Pineapple was put away by the dairy, Dad switched to Maple Walnut, I to Pralines and Cream, but the sharing ritual continued. Eventually full-time moves were made to Bobcaygeon, cherished family passed and the generations have unfolded, but stories, plans and lessons continue to be shared at the door step of the dairy. Dad is gone and my Mom’s memory is fading, so for Mom and I there is a comfort in that visit for ice cream, that feeling that good times happened here and we sit and enjoy the warmth of that.
Thank you, Kawartha Dairy, for all that you do, Bobcaygeon would just not be the same without you and as you continue to expand beyond your first little town and as new generations experience all that you bring to us, know that you are not only touching taste buds but you are truly touching our hearts. Happy 80th Anniversary.
This is a space dedicated to thoughts on all we love about Bobcaygeon. It might be about a special day last week, or a local place with a unique significance, or it might be about a memory from years gone by. The thoughts are personal and the voices sharing them are those of your friends and neighbours. Whether you're new to town or born and bred, we hope you'll enjoy joining us as we talk about real life in Bobcaygeon Now and Then.