Jan. 10, 2013 - Issue #899: The games we play
‘Uniquely Alberta Ave.’
Year two for Cool Runnins' Deep Freezer Races winter festival
That's right. It's just like it sounds. Three people ride in a freezer bolted to a pair of skis, while two people push it along a snow-covered track.
The Deep Freeze Byzantine Winter Festival event is the brainchild of Steve Sharp, one of the festival's volunteers.
Sharp, a former newspaper reporter, says when he came up the idea last year he thought it was both a great play on words and a solid photo opportunity for media covering the festival. But, it was also more than that. It was an opportunity for Edmontonians to feel like kids again in an event that is "uniquely Alberta Ave."
"As kids you got in cardboard boxes and had fun. So, here, you just hop in the deep freezer and go."
To make the races even more fun, Sharp threw in the idea of costumes.
For the event's inaugural year, there were only a few teams in costume. Arguably, the best was the Star Wars team led by Kristi Gurski as Princess Leia.
With Gurski were her friends dressed as Han Solo, Darth Vader, C-3PO and Yoda.
"Han Solo and Darth Vader are pretty strong guys, so we went pretty fast," she says with a laugh. "It was a blast."
Sharp says it feels a bit like riding a toboggan, just with four walls around you.
"They (the freezers) get clipping along once you're running really fast," he says.
Last year, more than 200 people raced the freezers, and this year, Sharp is hoping to attract even more people to the event on the soccer pitch behind the Alberta Avenue Community Centre.
To enter the race, each team member has to sign a waiver. But Sharp assures that with the weight of three people sitting inside, the freezers are sturdy and safe. "It's just a rocky ride."
The races take place between noon and 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.
And, of course, Cool Runnins' is just one of the many events taking place during the sixth annual Deep Freeze festival.
There's Ukrainian dancing, live music, fireworks, a street hockey tournament, clowns, a dance party, an ice carving competition, old time curling, skating, horse and wagon rides and much more.
To find a full schedule of events, visit deepfreeze.artsontheave.org.
Sat, Jan 12 – Sun, Jan 13
Noon – 2 pm
Deep Freezer Races
118 Avenue between 92 and 93 streets
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