The Invista Centre will become a winter wonderland on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, when RE/MAX Rise hosts their second annual Winter Festival. The event will raise money for BGC South East (formerly the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and Area), to benefit over 5,000 local children and youth with healthy living programs.
Last year, the event welcomed thousands of families and young children to diverse activities such as horse and carriage rides, face painting, and ice skating, according to a press release from BGC South East.
“We were blown away last year with the turnout,” said Adam Candon, owner of RE/MAX Rise in Kingston.
“We are really happy to organize this event for our community, and provide local families with the opportunity to celebrate the season and support such an incredible cause.”
The event will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature two ice pads with free skating for all ages. According to the release, the Desjardins ice pad will host the highlight of the day — the Kingston Police vs. Kingston Fire hockey game — at 12:30 p.m.
“We are thrilled to bring back the Kingston Police vs. Kingston Fire hockey game. It was a terrific team-building opportunity and allowed us to engage first hand with our community,” said Kingston Police Sergeant Steve Koopman, Board Director at BGC South East.
“This event makes a positive impact, connecting local families with healthy activities and influences, and funding critical after-school programs for local youth. We will have members from our Community Oriented Response and Engagement (CORE) providing fun activities for kids and families.”
Deputy Fire Chief Don Carter of Kingston Fire & Rescue shared similar sentiments — and some insight on his team’s healthy competitive spirit!
“Kingston Fire and Rescue is pleased to be a part of this community event,” he said.
“It is a way to give back to our community over the holidays. Our firefighters have accepted the challenge and have been training hard! We are ready to take the trophy home this year,” he joked.
BGC South East noted that the Winter Festival will bring all members of the community together to enjoy a free, family-friendly holiday event, with raffles and prizes raising funds for BGC South East. Donations at the door are welcome.
“Last year, the event raised $40,000, which went towards healthy meals for children and youth in after-school and nutrition programs,” shared Jacqueline Collier, President of the Board of Directors at BGC South East.
“It is a big need. We provide more than 40,000 healthy snacks and meals every year to children and youth in our programs.”
This year’s activities include horse and carriage rides, a kids zone with balloon animals and face painting, cookie decorating, bouncy castles, and professional photos with the Grinch! A holiday vendor market will feature many local artisans, so guests can find those last-minute gifts and stocking stuffers, too. Enjoy live entertainment and have a visit with Santa, Elsa, Elmo & Chase!
“This past year, we recorded our largest service yet, benefitting 6,799 local children and youth. Families are struggling financially, and we are providing twice as many subsidies to enable access to programs. This event will be a celebration of community, and help to fund programs for thousands of local kids,” Collier said.
Sponsorships are available. For more information on how to become an event sponsor, email [email protected].
More information about BGC South East can be found on the organization’s website.