LANSING-- What was last year's Chili Cook Off, has blossomed into what looks to be a full-blown Winter Festival.
After seeing the success of last year's event, Sue Stirn & Jana Schoh are bringing more to the table this year. Together, with their committees, they started out to make a few improvements, and ended up with a fun-filled family day of winter activities.
Long known for summertime events and the Fish Days Weekend, Lansing now wants to attract those visitors back during the winter cold snap.
Lansing's WinterFest is set for Saturday, February 21st, with registration starting at 9 am at TJ's Banquet Hall. Many of the day's events are traditional Winter Festival items, with a few twists added in for Midwestern originality. Turkey Bowling looks to be a big hit, with Cornish Hens provided for the smaller athlete.
The Allamakee County Conservation Board is helping out with an all-inclusive ice fishing station to help keep the winter sport and tradition growing among another generation. After that, a snowshoe trek is planned for the afternoon.
One of the highlights of the day is sure to be the Ice Carving demonstrations, with an ice carver completing up to six sculptures throughout the day. The Ice Carving will take place at the Plaza in the center of downtown Lansing, where families will be able to enjoy treats of s'mores, hot dogs, and hot chocolate around a warm fire.
WinterFest will feature a guided hike up and over Mt. Hosmer, with a fireside break at an old stone quarry (complete with s'mores). Hiking enthusiasts will get a chance to see Mt. Hosmer trails that few have experienced.
Attendees can purchase all-access wrist bands ($5 each, #3 for children) at TJ's Banquet Hall starting at 9:00 am. Additionally, TJ's will be holding a Craft/Vendor show starting at 10:00 am and running all day. Local Author, Jon Steffes will headline the show with a 3:30 pm presentation of his book depicting a historic winter storm and the stories of survival that came with it.
For those looking to warm up, WinterFest will have indoor game stations at Kerndt Brothers Community Center, running from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm.
Rounding out the day will be the Chili Cook Off back at TJ's Banquet Hall from 4:00- 7:00 pm. This year's competition will have voting in two categories:
The WinterFest wrist band allows attendees to participate in any and all activities, including the Chili Cook Off.
The Restaurants/Organizations category Cook Off winner will walk away with a traveling trophy and a year's worth of bragging rights.
A full schedule of the days activities can be found online at: WinterFest Schedule
It's a fun-packed day, just like Lansing Fish Days --- except for winter! Have fun everybody!
*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons.