BELLEVILLE - Organizers of Marmora’s SnoFest say it’s time to get your Canadian on.
Marmora SnoFest, home of the country’s longest-running sled dog races, is celebrating its 37th annual event this year, with winter-wonderland events slated for Jan. 31.
Leigh Nash, business development and event co-ordinator for the event, said the races will highlight spectator-friendly sprints, weight pulls, purebred teams and skijoring.
New this year is free admission to watch the races held at Marmora fairgrounds.
“We thought we would try something new this year to make this event accessible to more people,” she said. “We’re focusing on shorter races so it’s more of a spectator-friendly event.”
Instead of charging an admission fee, donations will be collected at the gate and at all Sno-Fest organized events.
Donations will go toward future editions of SnoFest and a portion will be donated back to the community.
Nash said at least 12 people took part in last year’s Skijoring – where a person on skis is pulled by a dog or several dogs.
The sled-dog races can draw up to 20 teams.
“Most teams are from within Ontario but there are some from Quebec and the United States,” she said Monday.
Despite the lack of snow so far, organizers have their fingers crossed these cold temperatures bring some snow to the area, although many of the event’s activities can take place without the fluffy white stuff.
“We do have lots of event that aren’t snow-reliant. Our local scout troop will be doing family-friendly activities and we will still have the weight-pull going,” she said.
In addition is a community showcase – highlighting local makers and growers.
“It’s a combination of local artisans, craftspeople and growers and that’s already filled up so I think it will be a great success.”
The festival officially opens on Friday, Jan. 30 with the opening ceremonies followed by the talent show and the Back of Cordova curling challenge.
Sled dog races, the community showcase, Sno-pitch baseball tournament, and other events, will take place Saturday, Jan. 31.
SnoFest buttons are $5, each with a chance to win one of 10 prizes of $100 at the SnoFest after party at Bunker’s Bistro. Buttons will be on sale at Cook’s Barber Shop, Marmora Valumart, and online at