Long john festival participants encouraged to embrace winter

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TRURO - The Truro Farmers’ Market building was filled with smiles as visitors danced, had their faces painted, played with balloon creations and took part in a scavenger hunt on Saturday.

Caelyn Kelly, left, and Jada Simon enjoyed taking part in Zumba during the Family Fun event at the Truro Farmers’ Market building on Saturday. A scavenger hunt, balloon animals, yoga, belly dancing, popcorn and hot chocolate were also included in the fun day, which was part of the Truro Long John Festival.

More than 70 people participated in the family fun afternoon held as part of the Truro Winter Long John Festival, which concluded later that evening with family skating at the Colchester Legion Stadium.

The weeklong festival, organized by the town, fostered a love for winter and offered opportunities for people to try new activities from snowshoeing and skating to orienteering, Zumba, belly dancing and yoga, all free of charge.

“Compared to last year, the weather seemed to cooperate better,” said Cathy von Kintzel, special events and culture coordinator for the Town of Truro parks, recreation and culture department.

“We only had to cancel one event and reschedule another, which worked out just fine.”

Nearly 40 people participated in a starlit night of snowshoeing on Thursday.

“The snowshoeing conditions were ideal,” said von Kintzel. She added that she was “struck and impressed” by the number people who had their own snowshoes.

“People are embracing winter activity which is what this is all about,” said the event co-ordinator.

She was also very pleased with the participation of the orienteering event, new to the festival line up this year, with 26 adults and children in attendance.

“We want to hold that again and see it grow,” she said. “We are adding new events every year, exposing and encouraging people to get out and get active in the winter and they seem to really be enjoying that.”

Looking ahead to next year, she is hoping more organizations and facilities in region will get involved to grow the festival.

Saturday’s fun day also marked the launch of a new transportation project, the ‘How do you get around town?’ program.

“We want to engage the public on how they’re getting around,” said Shannon Jarvis, active communities co-ordinator with the town. “We will have chalk boards where people can leave messages. These will be at the civic centre, Douglas Street and downtown in Truro. We also have a website where people can comment.

“We want to figure out how walkable and bikeable people feel the area is,” she added.

The program is also operating in Bible Hill, Tatamagouche and Brookfield.

Organizers would like to get people’s comments on what holds them back from walking and biking and what would motivate them to become more active.

The project operates with support from the County of Colchester, Village of Bible Hill, Town of Truro and the Province of Nova Scotia (through a Nova Scotia Moves grant).

A county wide gathering is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at First United Church Hall. There will be live music, sweet treats and a 50/50 draw. Childcare will be available.

Information can be found online at http://whatgetsyouplaces.weebly.com

Organizations: First United Church Hall

Geographic location: Truro, Colchester Legion Stadium, Douglas Street Colchester Village of Bible Hill Nova Scotia

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