February is usually a dead month around Winnipeg. The coldest of the cold, the final stretch of short days and windchill in a place that sees hot, action-packed summers with beautiful lakes and beaches and world-class festivals.
But in February, summer is a long, long way off.
So what have I gone and done? I’ve gotten myself involved in organizing not one, but two exciting events that month! The next few weeks are going to be very busy for me while I balance some great client projects with two major volunteer efforts that I feel quite passionate about. Wish me luck!
The first event, TEDxManitoba is taking place on February 9th, and needs very little introduction. Now in its second year, we have a great group of people on the organizing committee, an excellent line-up of speakers from all over the place, and a stellar set-up for our venue. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do—and be sure to catch our live stream on event day.
The second event is brand new. And possibly a little bit insane.
Actif Epica, which will take place on February 18th, began life when my co-organizer Ian Hall rode a winter bike race in Minnesota last winter. Over the fall, he approached me and said that he would like to try something like that here, and did I think there was we could make it into something more than a bike race? He had the route planned out (more or less), and we began work on creating a DIY, grass-roots, self-organizing winter festival, with an emphasis on human-powered, outdoor activity in the winter.
The whole thing is based on an interactive strategy focussed on connecting with people and creating serendipity. It winds up as something like a crowd-sourced festival platform—the bike race (130 km along the Crow Wing Trail from St Malo to St Boniface) and it’s various checkpoints, along with five event principles provide a framework for people to hook into and create something new or build on something they’ve been doing for a while. We all get together and collaborate on making something special. Something beautifully human.
So far, it’s working beautifully! We have partners lining up along the route, including Festival des Amis, who will host the starting line for the challenge and Festival du Voyageur, who will host it’s finish line. We have organizations like Green Action Centre, who are hosting an event that’s a little bit more on the formal side (though definitely fun), and we’ve heard from lots of people who are interested in throwing together quick, low-key games of shinny and even murmers of a frozen ultimate frisbee tournament. It’s taking its own shape, which is exactly what we hoped for.
If you haven’t yet taken the time to read the speaker profiles for TEDxManitoba to see who you’d like to watch on the live stream, please do. They all even give us links to their favourite TED talks, so you can get a sense of what tickles their brains.
And if you happen to be around Winnipeg in February, there are lots of ways to get involved and have fun at what is sure to become an incredible Manitoban tradition of facing the cold and laughing at it. :)