(Courtesy Connie Meloche) (Natalia Fedosieieva, The Eastern Door)
The 2nd annual Winter Classic brought a packed house to the Knights of Columbus hall on Tuesday, to celebrate New Year’s Eve together with the community’s families.
Hosted by the Women of Tewanatanónhnha, which means to strengthen our families, the event included a day of indoor and outdoor activities, some that got people into contests and some that got them just into some fun.
The event coordinator Connie Meloche, said to do this on the New Year’s Eve was based on a decision to bring everyone together on the last day of the year with the idea to have fun for everybody.
“We were always looking for something to do for the kids and families,” she said. “We have activities like a lot of other communities do, where community can come together and just enjoy.
“For this family event, every year we close the highway for road hockey, which is fun, and what everybody did when they were kids,” she said.
“We have food contests,” Meloche continued. “Where we have the best meat pies, best chili, best dumplings.”
For elders there was a nice elder’s corner where they could sit and watch on the screen what is happening outside and telling good stories, she said.
“We have lots of games,” she said. “Axe throwing outside, giant horse shoes, yard pong, sleigh rides, arts and crafts table for both children and adult.”
Many restaurants donated food and lots of gift certificates, she said.
“We are very happy we have lots of food donations,” Meloche added.
Sponsored by the KSCS (Kahnawake Shakotiia’takehnhas Community Services) and Caisse Populaire Kahnawake, the event also received a monetary donation from the Kateri Memorial Foundation for Kahnawake’s Got Talent contest.
Meloche said last year they had at least 350 people and surpassed that this year.
Kahnawake elder Eleanore Paul visited the Winter Classic with her family for a second time and realized there was more people compared to the previous year.
“They (her family members) are involved in the food contest,” she said. “Some of them are playing hockey, and I’ve been sitting here in this rocking chair and watching the event that is going on outside, which is fun.”
“I like this event,” Paul continued, “Because it includes all the ages, staring from the very young to my age group.”
She believes the event is important for the community, because “it is about getting people involved in something that is fun for the whole family.
“It is fun for kids and adults,” she added. “Also, you meet old friends here, and the more the merrier here.”
A participant from the women’s group, Kara Diabo, was assisting in the planning of the Winter Classic for both editions; she also works at KSCS as a prevention worker in addictions.
“With both of my roles, I’m just offering healthy super activities and events in the community,” she said.
Diabo thinks it is important to provide this kind of event, “because there are opportunities for adults to join a lot of wellness activities, instead of getting drunk, or shooting guns, or other unhealthy activities that are going on in our community.
“There is ball hockey that is going outside, where families can be part of it together with their kids showing them good role modeling, having food and things that don’t cost money,” she said.
“It’s to bring people together to offer something positive,” she added. “I like getting together with the community and doing activities.”
Kingston Delisle, 10, said he came for the event to play some Winter Classic games with his friends.
“We are playing ball hockey outdoors,” he said. “It’s fun, I see some cousins, I heard the food is really good.”
He thinks it’s important to play hockey because “it is good for my health and accuracy.”
As the results of the contests were announced, the Kahnawake Winter Classic ball hockey winning team was the MBC Wings.
The food contest winners were Sylvia Kahentaronnion Lahache for best meat pie; Dana Marquis for best dumplings; and Jamie Kirby for best chili.
Kahnawake’s Got Talent Grand Prize winner was dancer Ryleigh Mayo, who won a $1,000 US gift certificate.
Next year’s event promises to be bigger and better, organizers and attendees alike figure, and with all of the fun and healthy activities, expect even more community members to come out at the end of 2020.