The coldest months of winter are glum for many folk of The Isles of Orlend
, but when it really
snows, spirits are lifted once more as the Westdale Tarn Winter Festivities
return once more.
The festivities can only begin once the lake has safely frozen over, and then all are welcome to take part in Woldshire
's annual traditions of ice dancing, racing, sports, fishing, and of course plenty of hot food.
Dancing to the lively musical performances are the best way to keep warm, and folk don pairs of bladed boots for skating upon the thick ice of the lake in intricate twirls and gliding swoops. For the merrier and less co-ordinated folk there are shore-side pavillions set up which are much sturdier underfoot than balancing upon thin blades of steel.
Music varies each year based upon a theme, but there is always a broad range of performers and instruments to be heard around the lake depending on which part of the shore you approach from. The loudest and most popular is always from Tarnton as it has the best access up from Bradstowe
Races & Sports
For the competitive Orlendian
folks, there's races and sports of all kinds to be enjoyed! Ice hockey is always a crowd favourite, but the majority of crowds draw for the solo and team races for varying legnths of ice skating speed races. There are two major races, one starting from Tarnton to race as fast as you can westward across the lake to the other side (across the short width), and the other starts at the south of the lake where the River Haggle feeds into the tarn - folks race the entire length of the lake in an endurance based sprint to the longest side of the lake to the Aurus. There are plenty of relay races, too!
Food vendors can be found dotted around the shoreside cooking up hog roasts and barbeques that waft meaty aromas across the lake when the wind shifts directions. Due to the cold weather, demand is high for hot food so it's unusual to find any cold refreshments. It's a strange time of year where vendors experiment with different recipes to come up with unique ways of making bland food exciting with a strange twist. Last year's new favourite was fire-jelly, a red wobbly gelatin infused with aromatic spices, alcohol, and a kick of chilli peppers.
In the lake center, holes are carefully cut into the thick ice sheet covering the tarn for the annual fishing event. Prizes are given for most fish caught, biggest fish caught, and consolation prizes are given for lost hats and gloves that fall into the holes. Many folk will come home from the festival with a fresh fish which they can cook over the fire when they get home.
Oh this sounds like such a wonderful festival thing, especially the ice dancing.
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
This sounds amazing. I really really want to try fire-jelly - that sounds so yummy and warm. :)