We need to have a serious discussion about the weather, kids, but first I want to update you on how my team made out in the big charity cook-off Thursday night.
The Free Press Squid Ink-Stained Wretches -- publisher Bob Cox, Mona Lisa Ristorante owner Joe Grande and I -- diced and sliced our way to a stunning second-place finish at the Golden Apron Gala in support of Wolseley Family Place, a resource centre helping low-income families.
We were edged out for the big prize -- actual gold-coloured aprons and a gold wooden spoon -- by the Flashes In The Pan, a plucky family team comprised of Chuck, Jan and Chelsea Sanderson.
The Flashes whipped up an appetizer of mushrooms stuffed with smoked salmon, a main course of seared elk with broccolini in a horseradish cream sauce and pan-fried beets in a balsamic reduction, and a dessert crepe that put the judges into a sugar-induced coma.
"It was a great moment," chirped team leader Chuck Sanderson. "We were very pleased to beat you, Doug. We had you in our sights. We cook a lot and we love food and we love each other."
So there was definitely a lot of love in the room -- even though I managed to slice open one of my fingers while practising my knife skills on a zucchini -- which somehow brings us to our holiday weekend weather forecast for the unofficial start of summer on the Prairies.
According to Environment Canada, we kick things off today with mostly sunny skies, clouds in the afternoon and a lovely high of 18 C, which is two (bad word) degrees under the normal high of 20 C for the start of the May long weekend.
On Sunday, we're looking at a high of 18 C and a mix of sun and clouds, and we'll wrap things up on Monday with -- please put down any sharp objects you might be holding -- a high of 15 C and rain, lots of rain.
As my buddy, Dale Marciski, pointed out to me on Friday, we shouldn't really complain because the weather picture could be a lot worse.
"Last year, it rained all three days on the May long weekend, so in a way we're doing better than we did last year," Dale advised me. "If you go west, it's a lot worse than here. In Calgary, for example, they're looking at rain most of the weekend, potentially 50 millimetres or even 100 millimetres up in the mountains. That's a lot."
By Thursday, Winnipeg could be basking in sunny skies and normal temperatures, so are warm summer breezes in the offing? "There is some hope that the pattern has changed and we won't see the really cold air coming back," Dale told me. "However, there is nothing showing hot, dry weather moving in.
"It's too soon to say how summer or the rest of spring will shape up. So get out and enjoy it!"
You heard the man, Winnipeg, so let's start enjoying ourselves by getting hugged by a complete stranger. Seriously, today is -- prepare to feel warm and fuzzy all over -- VOICES Free Hug Day at The Forks, wherein a network of upbeat young persons will dispense free hugs at the plaza entrance.
After getting your hug, you might want to hang around The Forks for the farmers market on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring 32 vendors dispensing farm-fresh goodies, including locally raised meats and homemade jams and preserves. You might even get to hug a farmer.
What's more, the Asian Canadian Festival gets underway under the canopy at The Forks from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and includes a totally awesome drum festival.
If you crave some culture -- and, let's face it, who doesn't? -- make your way to Prairie Theatre Exchange today to check out the Carol Shields Festival of New Works. All readings are free. For more info, visit www.pte.mb.ca.
Given how long it's taking for warmer weather to arrive, you might want to get a few laughs by taking in Judah Friedlander (that guy with the hat and glasses from 30 Rock) at Rumor's Comedy Club tonight. Tickets $20.
I personally will be watching the hockey playoffs on the couch and holding a frosty beverage, because it makes that (bad word) wound on my finger feel better. Happy Victoria Day!