Even through the cold winter days, there has been a lot of activity at Winter in the Village, a new venture this year for Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach.
Executive Director Gary Dyck expects a lot of people to come out now that the weather is expected to be warmer than it has been for a while.
But he says, even on colder days, Winter in the Village is a great place to visit.
“We always have the main Village Centre and galleries nearby, so people can seek out in cold weather and just go for a little, brisk walk and then come right back in and enjoy a hot cup of hot chocolate,” says Dyck. “It’s just been a great experience I think for those that have made out so far.”
And they are already getting many ideas on how to improve the experience for next winter.
“The lighting... there's always more to be done,” he says. “And you know once you start one thing and you see, ‘Oh this part of the village could use something’ or ‘this idea could work better’ and so this is kind of more of a trial year. It’s definitely been a good thing for us to start to envision what this Winter in the Village could really look like, and how to make it just a terrific event for not only for the local community but even for tourists to be attracted to.”
To help pay for this winter attraction, MHV received support from the Tourism Relief Fund by way of a $150,000 grant, along with $25,000 from Tourism Manitoba. Dyck says the money allowed them to purchase a number of items needed to support this plan of creating an outdoor space for everyone to enjoy the season during the colder months.
Even though Winter in the Village opened later than they would have wanted, Dyck says it has been a good first year.
“December was of course an ideal time to really open up and start this event, but we weren't able to do that because the funding came late. So that's why we missed out on December pretty much,” he explains. “But going forward, we will definitely want to be open in December and that will be a big opening.”
Dyck hopes they can get enough volunteers and staffing to allow Winter in the Village to be open more often.
He says it is that shortage that is limiting their hours right now.
If you would like to volunteer at Mennonite Heritage Village, contact their office.
Winter in the Village is open every week Tuesday through Saturday until early March.