Silver Skate Festival

Behind the scenes of Edmonton’s longest-standing winter festival

“I think that it’s the passion and love of what you’re doing,” said DiLoreto. “I don’t have to be that person and my Board of Directors has told me multiple times ‘you know Erin, you don’t have to live there.’ But when you’re an A-type event personality that just has to be there… it’s like birthing a child, I spend 10 months prepping for this baby.

“I’ve gotten better, but when there’s full programming on the weekends of the festival, I’ve been known to be here for the start of the skate races at 8:00 a.m. up to the [fire sculpture] burn that happens at 8:00 at night. But again, that’s on me, I’m getting better at that.”  

This will be DiLoreto’s 16th Silver Skate Festival; she started as an administrative assistant to the producer of the modern-day version of the festival which kicked off in 2005. The festival, though, started in 1990 as a formal society; the Dutch Canadians Club and Edmonton speedskating community would come together for a day of races and food at Hawrelak Park in the heart of Edmonton’s river valley.

It was in 2012 when the City of Edmonton launched a WinterCity Strategy with partners, including Explore Edmonton (then Edmonton Tourism), to reclaim the joy of winter. Rallying around the snowy season has been a game changer for DiLoreto and the Silver Skate Festival.

“You can see the spike in our attendance,” said DiLoreto. “You can see, along with my winter festival peers, that it just helped amplify what we’re doing. The credit goes to community working together.”