THUNDER BAY – After COVID-19 forced the event to be pushed to the back burner for a couple of years, the Snowarama for Easter Seals returned with a flourish last February and will be held again this year.
Organizers are hoping to keep the momentum going as registration is underway for the 19th edition of the snowmachine fundraising event, which takes place on Feb. 10 at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino in Grand Portage, Minn.
“We would love to have it back to where it was in 2020, which was actually our biggest year ever before everything got shut down a month later,” said Rhonda Harrison, Easter Seals Ontario community engagement manager for the Northern region, during the kickoff event at J&J Sports on Thursday.
“This event has grown quite a bit over the years and that comes from the support from Grand Portage, from businesses in Thunder Bay and the people who participate.”
Easter Seals ambassador Emilie Pike has been involved with Snowarama for eight years and knows firsthand how much the donations can help someone.
“They (Easter Seals) have helped with grab bars for the bathroom and with summer camp, because I have a really hard time getting around harder places and it was really easy for me,” Pike said.
Since it started, Snowarama has raised over $575,000 for children and youth with physical disabilities. Last year’s ride saw 125 participants and $38,563 raised.
Tony Swader of the Grand Portage Trail Riders said the fact that they are helping kids is what brings him back each year.
“It’s a good, fun event and I really enjoy the people,” Swader said.
“What I really enjoy is seeing the kids that have grown up, gone off to college and really prosper.”
The goal for this year is to raise $40,000, though Harrison was quick to point out that Easter Seals is grateful for any money that comes in.
Right now, the biggest thing that organizers are hoping for is some help from mother nature.
“She’s not really cooperating at the moment in terms of snow for our trails,” Swader said.
“But we’ll make a base and make something fun out of it. So come on down, enjoy the day and help support the kids.”
For more information on the event, visit the Snowarama website.