Pandemic pushes 50th Corner Brook Winter Carnival to 2022

Organizers of the annual Corner Brook Winter Festival have cancelled 2021 plans, scheduled for February, that would have marked the 50th edition of the festival. 

Carnival committee chair Dave Elms — also known as mascot Leif the Lucky — says cancelling the two-week winter festival was not an easy decision.

“We had this knot in our gut. We were planning this so much and we wanted this to go ahead,” Elms said.

The first Corner Brook Winter Carnival was held in 1972 and features a family fun day in Margaret Bowater Park, a chili cookoff, concerts and dozens of public breakfasts and dinners in church basements.

Elms says the committee contemplated having a smaller weekend event in 2021 but decided it would be impossible for people to physically distance themselves properly.

Dave Elms, chair of the planning committee, says cancelling the two-week winter festival was a tough decision. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

“We looked at all the circumstances in how carnival works and it’s just not going to be possible,” he said. “There’s no way to be safe. That’s the word we keep using: ‘safe,'” he said.

Planning for 2022

Last year’s female youth ambassador, Violet Cummings, was disappointed to hear the carnival has been cancelled. She won a contest to be able to represent teens at all the carnival events in 2020. 

“It was so beautiful. I made so many connections and got to do a lot of fun activities. Making those connections was the best part for me.”

The carnival committee is busy making plans to hold the 50th edition of the festival in 2022 instead next year. (Corner Brook Winter Carnival/Facebook)

She plans to be part of the committee for the 50th carnival celebrations, which are now planned for 2022.

While there will be no gatherings this winter, Elms encouraged Corner Brook residents to celebrate from home, while he and the committee are busy planning for next year’s carnival.

“We are asking them to keep the flame burning in their own way and keep the spirit alive,” he said. “Keep your Christmas lights on as we normally do during carnival, decorate your windows with carnival scenes, build snow sculptures in your yard. That way we can keep the spirit going until we get to the 50th.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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