Last year marked the 40th anniversary of Winterfest in Hamilton. Started by a group of intrepid community-builders, Winterfest was established as a community-led program. Neighbourhood groups, schools, arts organizations and City facilities created programming aimed at bringing residents out of their homes during the frosty days of February.
With a growing community and increased demand for engaging cultural and recreation offerings in the winter, the City of Hamilton has engaged Cobalt Connects, a well know local arts service organization, to lead the management and growth of Winterfest. We aim to enhance local efforts, while building Winterfest into Hamilton’s signature snowy festival.
Over 75 community-led and City facility activities make up the Community Activity component of Winterfest, making it a truly city-wide and accessible program. These activties range from free skates at local rinks to author readings at the Hamilton Public Library, music offerings at local venues to curling at the Dundas Curling Club.
The vast majority of these programs are volunteer led, and are supported by Winterfest through collective marketing, small grants, and unifying elements like Chimo – Winterfest’s offical mascot, volunteer supports, SWAG (t-shirts, promotional items, etc.), and a fee-waiver program from the City to support the use of local parks, facilities and services.
Winterfest is co-proudced by the City of Hamilton and Cobalt Connects. The City provides core funding to support the community activities, while Cobalt Connects acts as the festival development, programming and marketing leadership.
Cobalt Connects is a non-profit arts service organization. Cobalt Connects was initially created to address the need for affordable artist studios and cultural spaces, but has grown over the past fifteen years into a dynamic organization with expertise in cultural programming, event management and municipal cultural planning and research.
We are excited to bring our knowledge of the Hamilton community and experience in developing engaging, community-driven events to the Hamilton Winterfest Celebration.
Hamilton Winterfest photography by Jess Tessier.