By DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly
Thousands of locals spent the last day of 2015 celebrating at Fort McMurray’s largest family New Year’s Eve extravaganza – The CRAZE.
The event offered a wide-variety of both indoor and outdoor activities at MacDonald Island. From a live concert to speed climbing on the rock wall, residents were able to partake in all – and everything – offered on the Island at no charge, plus extras.
Event highlights included: the return of the Oil Barons, who hosted a public skate and autograph-signing session; as well as, visual arts workshops, the indoor Playzone, face painting, obstacle courses, a show by Morton the Magician and much more.
With Shell Place hosting their grand opening in June 2015, this year’s CRAZE was a first for the organizers at Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo (RRC) to maximize the end-of-the-year celebration with the use of its space.
RRC’s Chief Executive Officer Annette Antoniak explains how having the facility open allowed them to showcase it and all Shell Place offers.
“This year it was truly a delight to showcase the new amenities at Shell Place, as well as the amenities at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre, during The CRAZE,” said Annette Antoniak, Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo.
“This year it was truly a delight to showcase the new amenities at Shell Place, as well as the amenities at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre, during The CRAZE,” said Annette Antoniak, Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo (RRC), in a recent press release. “Some new events and activities, including the first time the Molson Outdoor Rink was opened to the community for public skating, made this year a truly memorable event for all those who attended.”
With temperatures sitting around zero degrees, residents were able to embrace the outdoors – at the new skating rink and on hay rides. Guests also lined up for hours to take part in dog sled rides with local award-winning musher Christina Traverse of Mush McMurray.
This was Traverse’s first time giving the community a chance to ride with her team of Alaskan Huskies at a public event and she shared how she was amazed with the turn-out. Next year, she hopes for more snow and sleds. Also, she plans to use a shorter trail to ensure everyone gets a turn.
“Spending the day with my dogs and introducing people to the sport was an amazing and very rewarding experience,” she said.
“Spending the day with my dogs and introducing people to the sport was an amazing and very rewarding experience,” she said. “We did have to turn away seventy people because, by the end of it, there was no snow left on the trail. Next year, I’ll need two or three sleds going and a shorter trail.”
In the event’s final hour, guests flocked to the Main Stage Entertainment Zone presented by Mix 103.7 FM as Canadian musician Jordan McIntosh performed. The crowd danced and sang along to his popular hits: “The Story of My Life” and “Grew Up in a Country Song.”
Mix 103.7 FM’s Steve Reeve wrapped up his third consecutive year emceeing the CRAZE’s main stage entertainment and said the event was like previous ones – packed, and it blew the crowd away with the traditional bangs from the New Year’s Eve Fireworks.
“The families came out in a big way again this year,” he shared. “The crowd packed into the Nexen Fieldhouse for Jordan McIntosh. Everyone really seemed to have a great time, and like everyone, I was blown away by the fireworks display.”
– Connect Weekly –