Good old-fashioned outdoor family fun will be had by all at the inaugural Winter in the Woods Family Festival in Bragg Creek on Saturday, Jan. 29, which includes some unique events, like human curling and chuck-a-puck.

Admission is by donation and it doubles as a fundraiser to continue the amazing transformation of the hamlet's outdoor rink, located next to the Bragg Creek Community Centre. It's being organized by the rink committee of the Bragg Creek Community Association with the assistance of numerous volunteers and local businesses, including title sponsor Gateway Developments.

Noon until 8 p.m. is jam-packed with activities on and around the outdoor rink. There are hockey games, family skates, skills competitions, family fun zone, artisan market, firepit, beer garden, and plenty of live music.

It also marks the return of Human Curling to Bragg Creek after a long absence.

It's a fun-natured event that challenges people to hurl a person on a toboggan down the ice and try to come closest to the button. He says it's all in fun and something the whole family can enjoy.

"This is an event that has a bit of folklore here in The Creek," explains festival chair Brian Robertson. "The past champions are going around saying they're going to hold their crown again this year."

Hockey games bookend the day. A hockey game kicks off the on-ice schedule at 1 p.m. with a game between the U15 Bragg Creek Bears and Black Diamond's High Country Rockies.

Then at 6:30 p.m., the rivalry returns between the Powderhorn Pistols and Redwood Meadows. He says the Pistols have dusted off their jerseys after a few years of not being able to hit the ice.

"We'll see what happens, but the Powderhorn Pistols are a mean bunch of people, so we'll see if they'll hold the Bragg mantle pretty good here."

Right after that game is a grand finale chuck-a-puck with plenty on the line. Buying a specially marked puck for $10 could earn you $1,000, plus you could help determine the naming rights of the outdoor rink for one year. Each puck features the festival logo on one side and the participating sponsor on the other. 

"When we announce the winner that night, we're going to flip over that puck, and whatever business has sold the winning puck is going to win free naming rights to the rink for the year. So there's a bit of a competition among the businesses here in Bragg, and, of course, someone can come out and win $1,000 that night."

They can be purchased at any (or all) of the nine sponsors: Powderhorn Salon, River Dragonfly, ATB Financial, Rocky Mountain Bison Company, Moose Mountain General Store, Bragg's Corner Kitchen, Many Legs, Rockies Tavern and Grill, and One of a Kind.

Robertson says the family fun zone will be packed with games, some of which you would associate with summer, like cornhoe, ladder ball, and horseshoes. He says kids can play for free and win prizes.

"We just thought, why not? Let's have some fun in the winter, so there's going to be tonnes of games."

Robertson says they've been fortunate to have many volunteers and generous sponsors step forward to make the rink's revitalization possible.

"We have worked night and day for about a year trying to get the rink in order. We've repaired the fencing, we've livened up the boards with over 115 rink board ads, we've had a few raffles, and we've really just brought the community together."

But, he says, you can only go back to the well so many times before it goes dry.

"We thought, maybe it's time to come up with a winter festival. They did one about 20 years ago and it lasted for a bunch of years, and we haven't had one since. We just thought this is a great way to fundraise for the rink and hopefully make a few dollars to go towards upgrades and throw an event that can build community."

Robertson says they're proud of what has been accomplished so far.

"A lot of us didn't know each other. We just got together and started plugging away. There's still a lot more work to be done, but we're pretty proud of our little rink."

Robertson invites people from the greater Calgary region and beyond to come to Bragg Creek for the day.

"We've had some ex-NHLers on it doing an event this year, and the reviews are pretty good, so it's time to show it off to the greater Calgary area. We're hoping people from all over will come and just celebrate community, celebrate hockey, and celebrate the community centre here."

You can find further details here.

Winter in the Woods Festival