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Prince George, BC

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Getting out of the Studio: Winterfest 2017

Erin Giesbrecht

This week I decided to get out of the studio. I was also kind of forced to, by my sister. She wanted to bake a cake for my birthday in secret, so she told me to leave the house. What a great sister.

We headed down 5th street, it was a nice warm day, only 1 degree. As we walked along historic George street, the oldest street in Prince George we got a little peak at the Crossroads microbrewery.  I'm very excited to see it open, hopefully soon. I love microbreweries and I'm stoked to have one close to us.

We walked into the Winter Carnival at the triangular intersection of 7th and George. The Carnival was put on by Downtown PG. Prince George has been trying to revitalizing the downtown for awhile now and this is a great effort to bring the community together and add vibrancy to this northern city.

When we arrived at the Winter Carnival, we were met by food trucks, a relative rarity here in the north but one of my favourite ways of getting food, especially poutine.

We saw kids getting pictures with Mr. PG, the mascot for the city while people grabbed a bite from the food trucks.

Down another one of the roads, we jammed out to some tunes put on by a local DJ while booths set up to donate to charity cooked s'mores. They had little camp fires for you to roast your s'mores on and you could get a whole variety of different s'mores.

One of the booths I peeked into had two different s'mores. Set out on the table were a whole collection of s'mores, which were a genius combination of brownies with marshmallows on top. There were also some ready-to-eat marshmallows, dipped in chocolate and nuts. 

Another booth even had maple syrup and ice cream. Only Canadians eat ice cream in the winter and then slather it in maple syrup.

People were throwing snowballs at their family members and there was a field filled with colour. I called these the unicorn killing fields. I have no idea what happened here, but the rainbow-coloured snow looked both happy and destructive.

We came across a Canfor mascot, an anthropomorphicized piece of lumber then passed over to an area where a kid's snow playland was built. There were tunnels covered in snow for families to play in and it had a really sweet ice slide that I was pretty jealous of.

After that we moved over to the area where skiiers and snowboarders were hanging out and trying out tricks. They were jumping onto rails and landing and sometimes not landing some pretty sweet moves. 

Afterwards we moved over to the snow-covered lawn in front of City Hall and saw a cool snow sculpture being created. It featured a maple-leaf, a moose and a beaver and I was in love with the Canadian-ness of it all. 

It seemed like City Hall was the center for art. The lawn featured not just the snow sculpture, but also a neat ice throne that you could take photos on, while Journey blasted in the background.Then we moved on to a set of sculptures created by David Jacob Harder. The pieces were a collective a comment on the impact humans have on nature.

The first piece featured cross-section cut from a tree, otherwise known as a cookie, and linked them together in an igloo-like encapsulation of the tree. 

It made me think of the suffocating way that we surround natural spaces. Igloos also provide warm homes in cold climates. I thought about how we are warming nature and thought of the choking effect that would have on a tree in the summer. 

The second piece was a sculpture of 3 cookies, frozen into a block of snow. The impermanence of the sculpture was very beautiful. Perhaps it was a comment, the human-built sculpture is fragile and certainly will not last once it heats up in the sun. 

We then moved on to this next piece, which we were lucky enough to hear him talk about his work. The third piece was a table-like collection of blocks of ice. On it were cookie quarters. These quarters reminded me of woodsheds, filled with lumber that had been quartered. There were ditches carved out in the ice that reminded me of rivers. 

When he talked about the sculptures he said this, "This is all part of one tree, the same as that piece over there and this piece over there and this is all part of one tree. It was about 60 or 70 years old and I found it in the bush where someone had cut it down, even though it was green."

He talked about his third sculpture he said, "Later on in the day, after the heat gets in here, you'll be able to see the rings. You'll see a nice little imprint. Once they've been in there for awhile, they'll actually show that pattern."I picked up a block and saw the vague imprint of rings on the ice. 

Then we moved on to another section of the carnival and passed some kids playing road hockey with some local professional hockey players from the Cougars. Then watched a train that was ferrying little passengers around a loop, to the delight of its passengers.

 

After we made our rounds, we went over to the Black Clover to eat some food and play some darts where Dalan won some, and then I won some.

It was pretty intense competition to be the first person to be victory, but I pulled it off.

It was a good day hanging out with Dalan, checking out some new stuff in our city. I loved seeing different art, whether it was the tree sculptures or the unicorn killing fields or just playing darts.

I hope you had a good family day. I'll see you next week for a speed painting that I'm really excited to show you. Ciao!!