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The LUSU-organised event began on Wednesday Week Nine, when the event’s centrepiece, the ice-rink opened at 12pm. Skaters were able to enjoy the plastic ‘ice’ for all three days of Winterfest, to the background of festive music.
Andy Johnston, VP (FEDS), who played an important role in organising the event, was present in the Square throughout some of the week’s events. “I went down at about 3pm [on the Wednesday] and people seemed to be really enjoying it,” he said. “I heard that at the start we had a little bit of a problem with the ‘ice’ not being slippery enough, but then the issue was resolved in about ten to 15 minutes.”
Any original difficulties with the ice were soon sorted out, and it soon seemed very popular with students. Lisa Chadwick was one of the first to try out the ice, saying: “In comparison to proper ice it’s easier to stand up, but harder to move… it’s actually slippier than real ice!” She also mentioned how much she had enjoyed Winterfest, saying: “It’s a great idea, and it’s definitely something we’d want to see annually.”
Johnston later went on to speak of his hopes that the event will become an annual occasion. “This year we’ve got a few new different ideas [for seasonal events] set up, and this one is great. There’s no pressure on getting it through every term, as it’s obviously Winterfest, so we can organise it far in advance,” he said, adding: “As this is the first one, we’re really setting a precedent for next year and it’s something you can see growing year on year.”
On Wednesday evening, a brass band entertained a crowd gathered in Alexandra Square from 5pm. Chris Osborn, a member of the music society and one of the event co-ordinators, said: “I was walking down the spine and you could hear the band all the way over in Fylde! I’d say there was a pretty good crowd and everybody was enjoying themselves.”
Entertainment took place every day of Winterfest, with the main focus being on Friday evening’s ‘Extravaganza’, which included performances by societies such as LUDANS and the Debating Society.
The week also saw fundraising for the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund and Cancer Care charities. A number of charitable stalls were set up by CEEC’s ‘Insight into Project and Event Management’ initiative, around the ice-rink, along with a stall set up by LUSU selling cakes and mulled wine.
The fundraising stalls present at Winterfest on Wednesday and Thursday and had a variety of ideas, including ‘Pin the Nose on Rudolph’, ‘Guess the Teddy’s Name’ as well as selling various cakes and biscuits.
LUVU’s Voltage Project also had several stalls at Winterfest on Thursday, with Heysham High School Sports College, Blackpool & Fylde College and Lancaster & Morecambe College all sending young entrepreneurs to represent their respective schools.
All three colleges had notable causes to which the fundraising contributed. Heysham High School Sports College donated the proceeds of their stall to The Make A Wish Foundation, Blackpool & Fylde College contributed to the Blackpool Victoria Hospital, and Lancaster & Morecambe College donating to the school’s own hardship fund, which allows students – who may not otherwise be able to afford it – to attend school trips.
Chris Nulty of Blackpool and Fylde College said of their stall: “We’re selling stockings and hats which we’ve made, it’s a bit cold but we’re raising money for a good cause so we don’t mind.”
In addition to the stalls, the events also included ‘The Great Big Giveaway’ at the Sugarhouse on Friday evening, with over 15 companies contributing to the prizes, which concluded the week’s events.