Esterhazy will be a busy place this weekend with a slate of activities for the whole family to enjoy.
The fun kicks off with Moonlight Magic on Friday, Dec. 1 which includes sales at participating downtown businesses from noon til 9 p.m., an indoor vendor market over at Anytime Fitness from 4-9 p.m., an indoor kid’s obstacle course at Crossfit K20 from 6-9 p.m., and a special beef on a bun from 4-8 p.m. at the Legion.
Tammy MacDonald, CAO with the Town of Esterhazy, says Moonlight Magic has been going on for more than 15 years in the community, and is a great way to kick off the Christmas season.
“It’s been a wonderful event for the downtown business core, we’ve just expanded on a little bit,” she said.
The evening is highlighted with one special event at 7 p.m. in Esterhazy Historical Park as Mayor Grant Forster holds an official light up ceremony at the glorious Christmas tree.
A local tradition for the past few years, it’s a thrilling moment with music and a big countdown before Mayor Forster hits the switch. Undoubtedly, lighting up the night must be one of the finer perks of being mayor!
“This year, we’re going to have some Christmas carollers from the community singing live Christmas carols at the same time,” MacDonald said. “Weather permitting, we’re going to do a couple of fire pits with the fire department and just make it a cozy welcoming area. So while people shop up the Main Street, they can come down and check it out!”
A quick glance at the weather forecast shows favourable temperatures—or at least hopefully not as chilly as last year’s event.
“Last year, it was really cold—like I’m like talking the windchill factor was well in the -30s . . . we froze! But we still had a pretty significant turnout,” MacDonald recalls.
Following Moonlight Magic is the jam-packed Esterhazy Winter Festival on Dec. 2 starting with a Minor Hockey U9 tournament over at the Dana Antal Arena at 9 a.m.
Also, from 11a.m.-2p.m., there will be indoor kids activities at the S.N. Boreen Centre including bouncy castles, cookie decorating and various crafts.
The afternoon features a free movie at the Maple Leaf Theatre from 2-4 p.m., a real Christmas classic sure to entertain young and young-at-heart alike.
“The Town has covered the cost of that so kids can go and watch the movie Elf and just have a wonderful afternoon,” MacDonald explained.
“And then rolling into that evening, from 6 to 8 p.m. is a Christmas family skate at the arena that’s free and open to the public to come out to skate.”
Ham and Turkey curling
Perhaps the most unique event of the day—and this ought to really set Esterhazy apart for creativity—is the turkey and ham throw to the button from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. over at the Esterhazy Curling Club.
Now one may think, “curling for turkey and ham? That’s not overly outrageous.”
Well, it’s not curling for those items, it’s curling with them! “
So what that means is you slide out of the hack like you do with a curling rock, but you shove it (the turkey or ham) to the other end. And whoever gets it closest to the bullseye wins the turkey or the ham,” MacDonald said.
Substituting a ham or turkey for a rock is not as easy as it sounds. First off, there’s no outside help along the way in terms of team mates sweeping to encourage the items on their way to the house, and apparently the use of cranberry sauce is strictly against the rules.
“It’s tough! You have to come flying out of that hack and you have to do a belly flop and two-hand shove it to get it down the rink,” MacDonald noted.
She does have a few pointers on the finer art of curling using holiday main courses, though.
“Hams are a little bit wobbly so you have to be a little bit more careful with them whereas the turkey’s heavier and goes a little bit straighter. But you definitely need full body to push it down there.
”There’s also a two-person bonspiel happening at the curling rink (using traditional rocks, not food) through the afternoon, making for a very busy Saturday!
Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator