The Nutrien Wintershines Festival has returned to Saskatoon, and this year, it’s teaming up with Eclat, a celebration of winter in lights. The weeklong festival kicks off on February 18 and promises both favourite activities and some new attractions. 

The Nutrien Wintershines Festival is focused on outdoor activities and getting people active and enjoying the splendour of a winter in Saskatchewan, says organizer, Shad Ali. 

“It’s very much centred around families and family engagement.” explains Ali, “So we have everything from ice and snow sculptures to lots of games and activities. In the collaboration with Eclat, we have the opportunity to illuminate all of the ice and snow sculptures, along with any of the activity areas, in very unique and interesting ways.”

The show has engaged lighting designers and architects to put a whole new luminous spin on the sculptors’ creativity. Those designers and planners will also be concentrating on some very specific projects for the combined festival. 

“The Light Tipi is an inspiration from artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle. We think this is going to be the last time she is going to do this, so being that Saskatoon is her home, we asked her to set it up on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. Our launch activity will be to create this light tipi, which will really be as much a ritual engagement as it will be an artistic engagement.”

The one time, one night experience will happen on February 18. L’Hirondelle and Indigenous knowledge keeper Joseph Naytowhow will bring in burning sage to enhance the lighting on the thirteen poles of the tipi. The ceremony will take place at the amphitheatre at River Landing. Just up the hill, the Alt Hotel will be serving a traditional meal of bannock and bison stew meal. 

Eclat will also provide special lighting for the sculpture installation “As Long As the Grass Grows” located at the corner of Avenue B and 20th St. in Riversdale.

“It’s a very important sculpture and placement, and the statement itself is pretty important from the perspective of Treaty and Treaty rights,” Ali says. “We wanted to bring a different kind of attention to that sculpture and its placement, so we hired a designer and worked with the City of Saskatoon and the Riversdale BID to make that all happen.” 

Joseph Naytowhow is one of the sculpture’s designers, and he’ll be present on February 20 to talk about the inspiration for the work. Cheryl L’Hirondelle will join Joseph for a drum song and blessing. 

The festival will feature a Telemiracle preview concert featuring a number of the performers set to take the stage at Telemiracle early in March. The concert goes on Friday, February 24

Of course the snow and ice sculptures will take centre stage for the Wintershines Festival. One of those elaborate carvings is actually an ice slide that kids can take a ride on. The Ice Castles project also promises to be a crowd favourite with its unique style and technique. Patricia Leguen, internationally known snow sculptor, will be putting on a clinic so fledgling designers can test their skills in the winter medium. A display honouring the northern lights and a series of decorative ice benches will all be part of the dazzling display. 

Get all the details on this year’s combined Wintershines and Eclat Festivals at