Julie Ann Bertram
Special to the Tribune
The long-awaited Carnaval de Field Carnival 2023 was full of fun, delicious food, and friendly competition from Feb. 9 to 12. After missing two years, everyone was happy to finally come together again to celebrate the blessings of winter and community: skating, hockey, winter volleyball, homemade breakfasts and afternoon soups, kids’ games, music, dancing, penny sales and snow sculptures.
The enduring winter Carnival in Field – the last surviving one in West Nipissing – is brought together by tenacious volunteers led by Linda Leduc of the Field Recreation committee, Julie Liard, and Michel LaBelle with the Field Firefighters. Mitch Jarbeau tends the ice at the rink for skaters to enjoy, not only for the Carnival but throughout the winter season. Sponsors from across West Nipissing generously donate their support and prizes. It is a collective effort and a tradition the people of Field and beyond hold dear.
Participant Chantal Girard commended the volunteers “that help make this Carnival come to life,” saying “the communities of Field and West Nipissing are lucky to have people like you.”
When the bad weather made the ice surface unusable for the start of the hockey tournament Friday night, games were rescheduled for early Saturday morning, but not before Mitch Jarbeau spent day and night working on the rink. “Please, when you see Mitch Jarbeau tomorrow or during the weekend, saying thank you for his work is probably not enough. He’s been working on the ice all day trying to make it good for us… Now he will probably be here all night and back at it tomorrow,” recognized Michel LaBelle as he posted photos of Jarbeau doing a third flood of the rink on Friday.
The hard work paid off as the hard-fought Chuck’s Hockey Tournament was a highlight of the carnival. The Nipissing Siding & Windows team took top spot, while 2nd place went to New View Home Renovations. All the teams showed great sportsmanship: Mainline Gang, Field Firefighters, LaBelle & Brothers, Sturgeon Falls Printing, and Shockers.
Next to the rink, the winter volleyball tournament was in full swing, with players competing on a slippery snow court in the cold for an added challenge. The Bawlerz (Anik Armitage, Ryan Armitage, Sophie Remillard, Danielle Remillard, Jessica Guay, Ricky Guay and Brianne Cheff) won the crown, with 2nd place going to Sneak Attack (Melanie Remillard, Andrée-Claude Patenaude, Danika Binette, Chloë Cheff, Mat Remillard, Blake Robinson, Kevin Remillard, and Kody Fortier), and 3rd place to Ball Poppers (Chantal Girard, Alexie Girard, Marx Girard, Steph Lisk, Aaron Lisk and Anne Trepanier).
Leading up to the event, colourful snow sculptures began to emerge all over the community as many residents took part in the annual snow sculpture contest. Entries were viewed and rated by the community through the Field Recreational Committee Events Facebook page. The winning entries were Penguins by April and Rory Senecal in first; Fishing Bears by Keian Griffin, Travel St. Jacques, Théo Sénécal, Finn Sénécal and André Sénécal in second; Polar Bear by Isabelle Mensinga and Julie Poirier Mensinga in third; Waterfalls by Sophie, Serge, Sédrick and Sébastien Larocque in fourth; Pig by Pascale, Brigitte, and Martin Larocque in fifth; Emoji by Pascale, Brigitte, and Martin Larocque in sixth; Fish by Annik Leduc, Alissa, Adèle and Abigail Ayotte in seventh; Pineapple by Mia Gammon in eight; Lakers by Troy Gammon in ninth; and Gnome by Sébastien Larocque in tenth place.
In the Knights of Columbus Hall at l’Église Notre Dame des Victoires, breakfast prepared and served by the Dames Auxiliaires and the Knights of Columbus was enjoyed by over 300 people. At the Club d’Age d’Or, their members served soup and hot dogs to help warm attendees in the afternoons, thanks to Bertha Green and Yvette Rochefort.