Organizers expect large crowds at Jack Frost Festival despite chilly temperatures

Temperatures may be dipping into the negative double-digits, but organizers of Jack Frost Winterfest in Charlottetown are expecting big crowds this weekend for the annual festival. 

"It's the Canadian winter, and we need to make the best of it, and celebrate the best of the winter," said Wayne Long, events development officer with the city. 

The Snow Kingdom at Confederation Landing in downtown Charlottetown officially opened at 5 p.m. on Friday, with general admission starting at 6 p.m. 

Crews began working on-site in early January, and throughout the day Friday were still hard at it, finishing the ice slides and the tubing run, and putting the finishing touches on the site. 

'Over the years we've learned to deal with the weather'

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

Over the years, organizers have dealt with a range of weather during and leading up to the festival, ranging from warm temperatures causing melting, to heavy rain one day of the festival last year.

Long said this year, weather leading up to the festival didn't pose many challenges, and said it was "one of the best years in some years." 

As for the festival itself, Long is feeling optimistic, despite the cold temperatures. 

"As an event organizer, you're always stressed about a number of things, and for outdoor events, weather is certainly one of them," Long said. 

"Over the years we've learned to deal with the weather and the challenges of the weather, and how to best be prepared for that. We've also learned to add other elements, indoor elements and other pieces to the festival, so that if it happens to be a bit tricky outdoors, that we have other venues happening and operating."

Large crowds anticipated

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

There are events at five locations this year, including an indoor playland at the Delta Convention Centre, as well as a Warm-up Zone at Founders Hall, just across from the Snow Kingdom. 

With all locations within walking distance, Long said there are plenty of opportunities to take a break from the cold. 

Organizers also hope to attract more than just families. They've added new activities such as axe throwing and gaming stations, which they hope will attract a broader demographic.

Long said last year about 15,000 people attended Jack Frost, and he's anticipating similar numbers this year. 

More from CBC P.E.I.