Despite a pandemic keeping community members social distanced from one another, residents and community members surrounding Pigeon Lake have been creative with their winter activities using the biggest resource in their back yard – the lake itself.
Grandview Beach resident, Corey Kozack has played a major role in the organized community activities and events at the lake.
For the past few years Kozack and his family have created and run the Grandview Haunted Barn in October, with all proceeds going to the Lakedell Elementary School. This year the Haunted Barn had over 2,000 visitors and raised $5,000 for the school.
In addition to running the Haunted Barn annually, Kozack also has been creating a skating rink on the frozen lake at Grandview Beach. This year beside the skating rink, Kozack and other community members from around the lake including Grandview, Viola Beach, Crystal Springs, and Poplar Bay, created a sheet of curling ice.
“We kind of just started out with the skating rink that was meant for our kids and we thought, we can’t spend 24 hours seven days a week on the rink, so why not let others use it,” Kozack says. He adds that the curling ice was an activity that all ages could enjoy, “the seniors need something too.”
Since the creation of the ice and all its parts including rocks donated by Gloria Olson, building the children’s rocks and making score sticks by Loretta Weisgarber and the donation of push sticks by Johanna Lobregt-Breitkreuz, the man-made rink has proven immensely popular.
“Each community has contributed something at some point,” says Kozack.
“I can’t believe how much attention it’s gathered. Just through the community here, it’s unbelievable,” Kozack says. “We’ve also got people who are booking the rink into March.”
Besides the curling ice, Kozack has been part of the team putting in ice at the Lakedell Elementary School.
“The nice thing about the rink here at the school is at night and on weekends it can be utilized by anybody in the community. It’s got lights, it has a skating shack there to change that’s heated,” says Kozack.
Kozack is also looking forward to the 3rd annual Sledz and Treadz Fundraising Poker Rally that is taking place this February. Last year the family friendly fundraiser and poker rally had over 400 participants and donated all proceeds to Lakedell School. This year the fundraising will go towards Lakedell School, Lakedell Playschool, Falun Elementary School and other community charities including donating to the Wayne Benson benefit for South Pigeon Lake’s Fire Chief who is currently battling a rare cancer.
Kozack says that the event was finalized on Monday Feb.8 after getting all clearances from Alberta Health Services, the Government of Alberta, and local Councils to hold the outdoor lake event.
“We encourage families to come out,” he says that this year there will family door packages and packages for the kids that come out. Kozack says that the rally is a great opportunity to “come out, enjoy our lake, have a good time with your family, practice social distancing,” and more.
“We really want this to become a premiere event for central Alberta if you will, and a family event,” says Kozack.
The poker rally will be on Feb. 27, 2021 this year and registration for the day starts at 9 a.m. with the rally starting at 11 a.m. and last hand called and to be in by 3 p.m.
This year there will also be a 50/50 draw through the parents fundraising committee out of Lakedell School. The online 50/50 has the potential to raise $20,000, which means a potential $10,000 cash payout for the winner.
Participants of the 50/50 can buy a ticket online with no requirement to participate in the poker rally. The online 50/50 went up on Thursday, Feb.11, and the winner will be announced the day of the rally.
Kozack says that the previous rallies have been a success in large part because of the generous communities around the lake.
“It is a very generous community out here. When it is something that everybody believes in and everybody enjoys as far as the rally, and everybody knows the money goes to the school and the money stays in the community, people are very good here.”