By Kathy McGrath

Winterfest has something new on tap this year.  Literally! A much-anticipated beer tasting zone has been added to the event, allowing residents to taste products from local breweries.

“We wanted to add a cool new activity, so we decided to go with something the parents can enjoy while their kids are playing games,” explained Jake Forsyth, who manages the annual festival.

Also new this year is the Winterfest gift basket raffle, said CCRA President Kathy Rowe. A few local businesses will be filling baskets with their products and, since tickets will only be 50 cents, everyone has a chance to win. 

This year, Winterfest takes place on Saturday, January 25 (rain or shine) at the Port Union Community Centre at 5450 Lawrence Avenue East between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The free event features entertainment at the indoor and outdoor stages, a barbecue, vendor tables and all kinds of games for the kids.

Some of the live performers include the Memory Lane Band, solo performer Shayne Ireland, rock/pop cover band Kennedy Station, singer Tempting Murphy, and the Port United band. If dance is your thing, check out the Rose School of Highland Dancing and the Halau Hula-La! Aloha Dancers.

As well as the live entertainment, Jake says other popular attractions include the photo booth, literacy bingo offered in the library, and interactive inflatables, which are games like Tic Tac Toe, basketball and whack-a-mole that can be easily played with boots on. Children will also enjoy face painting and balloon animals.

If the chilly weather sparks appetites, participants won’t leave hungry. Hot dogs, hamburgers and samosas will all be available for a nominal price. And, of course, there will be hot cocoa, hot apple cider, coffee and tea to stave off the cold. Those with a sweet tooth can enjoy maple taffy, cotton candy and beaver tails.

Representatives from Parks Canada will be on hand to promote their services and to provide information about our nearby Rouge National Park. 

Jake said that while it’s hard to know exactly how many people attend Winterfest each year, “it feels like more and more people come out each time.”

For more information or to volunteer,  visit the website: