Winterfest back under new name in Kitimat

Storytellers, live music and a delicious brunch is part of this year's Franco-fun Festival in Kitimat.

It used to be Winterfest, but the francophone organization AFFNO is rebranding its annual celebration in Kitimat.

The new name is the Franco-fun Festival, and AFFNO Executive Director Patrick Witwicki says they are gearing it as 100 per cent family friendly event, which runs February 19 to 21.

AFFNO Executive Director Patrick Witwicki says their new name plays on ‘francophone’ and plays up what they want the event to be known for: fun.

“Winterfest was just too plain,” he said, adding the name caused confusion with other similar events in the north.

“That’s we want, to emphasize the word fun,”

February 19 is a school-based celebration at Kildala Elementary.

The school has been on hiatus for running the annual Carnivale event but it will return for the students.

They’ll have special events, and workshops for storyteller Anne Glover.

Toffee on the snow will also be made.

The free community-wide event happens February 20 and the Kitimat Public Library.

They’ll be hosted Anne Glover there as well, and there will be a drumming workshop — yes, at the library — from Victoria-based band Kouskous.

“We decided to make this year’s festival 100 per cent family oriented,” said Witwicki. “That doesn’t mean if you’re an adult and you don’t have kids you’re not allowed to come. By all means come. But this time it’s anybody of any age can attend.”

The event at the library is first come, first serve due to space limitations so get there early if you can.

Kouskous will perform live music the next day at the Franco-fun Brunch at Riverlodge.

Witwicki says there will be the usual treats, including sugar tarts, pancakes and a lot of maple syrup.

They’ll do toffee on the snow that day as well. He said he’s still amazed there was no snow to do it at last year’s brunch.

Tickets for the brunch are being sold at the library.

The brunch was moved to Sunday from its usual Saturday because they’ve heard people are more free to attend that day, and they may get the after-church crowds too.

Witwicki believes this is the year that brings the festival back to full force as it was through the first decade of the 2000s.

“I think year is the turning point where we get it back…towards where it used to be,” he said. “That’s our goal, to get it back, get back in the community.”