Regina’s four major hubs embraced the Saskatchewan winter weather for ten days as part of the second annual Frost Regina winter festival.
This year’s festival saw 88,970 people attend, a 30 per cent increase compared to last year’s attendance of 68,012 visitors.
Tim Reid, the President and CEO of REAL and co-chair of the festival, said they expected growth of around 15 per cent but far executed the targets they set for themselves.
“We were all optimistic that we would see growth coming out of COVID-19, challenges around omicron; it really was our best guess,” he said. “To see 30 per cent growth, I think it outperformed our hopes and are targets in every category.”
Reid said that they were in mother nature’s good graces through the ten days, which made the festival more successful.
“We had ten fantastic days where the weather co-operated, and all of our hubs were activated,” he said. “That’s just not some winter festival coming out of COVID; it is an opportunity for us to celebrate winter for many generations to come.”
He said that this year’s festival improved upon last year’s.
“Last year, the Globe and Mail acknowledged that we were in the top ten winter festivals in all of Canada. I think this year we set a target of becoming number one and chasing the very best in our country, if not some of the very best in the world.”
Reid believes that Frost Regina will be back in 2024 but noted that they haven’t confirmed any dates yet.
He said they like the current dates, but next year’s Tim Horton’s Brier does create some challenges.
“We do have a challenge where we are hosting the Brier, so that creates a bit of a wrinkle in the calendar that we are trying to manage.”
As for next year’s festival, Reid didn’t spoil anything.
“All of our performers were very eager to negotiate 2024. They wanted in on the books as well, and I think each one of the hubs has been able to secure some talent. If it was really good in 2023, you should assume that you are going to see it again in 2024.”