Cold Events to Warm up Your Winter

Over the last few weeks I have been stating the obvious about how in cold weather, most of the events are indoors. Let’s face it, it is cold outside.  Not the “oh it’s chilly outside” kind of cold, but the “Yikes, it’s 11 degrees out” cold. But it is winter and it is supposed to be cold.  However, I was worried I might be getting into a rut with the indoor events and really tried to find some outdoor options this week. It’s for those of you brave enough to venture out for an outdoor event. And you know what? I found some GREAT ones.

My outdoor recommendations are filled with wonderful winter activities such as ice carving, sledding, ice skating, bonfires and other more traditional winter event activities. However many have unique or unusual winter time activities such as the Lumberjack Hall of Fame induction ceremony, groups of firefighters skiing while carrying a fire hose, hot air balloons ascensions, frozen fish tossing, a soup buffet and even ice harvesting. For those of you that do not know what ice harvesting is(I must confess that up until recently I wasn’t sure what it is myself) it is actually cutting and “harvesting” ice to be stored and used later. The harvested ice is stored and used in the ice cream they make for the Independence Day celebration. Now that’s thinking ahead! I am thrilled to bring you this week’s list of events. They are all good choices if you are looking for an outdoor event in winter. So grab a coat, hat and a hot water bottle for under your clothes and head out to the closest winter events in your area. Have fun and embrace the cold weather. It really can be fun with the right person especially if a few snowballs are accurately placed along the way!

This week I also have three honorable mention events that deliver on their promise in a big way. First up we all know, unless you have been out of the country that the Super Bowl is Sunday February 3. Whether you are a football fan or not (I am a huge football fan) you must admit the Super Bowl is everything a big event should be in terms of delivering on its promise. Next up is the Mount Dora Art Festival. Even though it is outdoors it didn’t make my cut for outdoor events because it is in Florida. Outdoor events in winter, in Florida, do not count as outdoor winter events for obvious reasons. However it is such a great event, if you are in the area, do not miss it. And lastly, one of my personal favorites which I mention every year is Wing Bowl in Philadelphia. It is an experience like no other. It takes place during the popular morning WIP-Sports radio show which is 6-10am. It has an attendance at that hour of over 25,000 people and fills to capacity the Wells Fargo Center where the Flyers and Sixers play their home games. Now if that isn’t an event that delivers, even at 6am, I do not know what event does! Remember to have fun this week no matter where you decide to go or what it is that you decide to do as your adventure!

Hot Air Affair

Feb 01, 2013 – Feb 03, 2013

E P Rock Elementary School Grounds Hudson, WI US 54016

Since 1991. Join us for wonderful family friendly events such as an evening parade, hot air balloon launches, geocaching, shopping, smooshboarding, arts and crafts, hot air balloon moon glow and great food just to name a few.
3,000 Attendees

Mount Dora Arts Festival

Feb 02, 2013 – Feb 03, 2013

Downtown Mount Dora, FL US 32756

Since 1976, over 300 exhibitors with beautiful pieces in different media. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet real artists and to begin your own art collection. With its downtown streets lined with New England architecture, this hilly destination overlooks the breathtaking view of Lake Dora. Other than the endless rows of fine art, including oil paintings, watercolors, acrylics, clay, sculpture and photography, the festival features local and regional musical entertainment at a main stage in Donnelly Park. Festival food will be provided in separate food courts, while local downtown restaurants will remain open.
300,000 Attendees

Lake George Winter Carnival

Feb 02, 2013 – Feb 03, 2013

Shepard Park Lake George, NY US 12845

Opening ceremony, dog pulls, outhouse races, kite flying demonstrations, encampment of the 1700’s, chicken wing cook off, longest drive contest, moonlight ATV ride. Children’s activities, hockey shoot-out, snowmobile sleigh rides, ice skating. Held every weekend in February. Activities vary on different weekends. Check event website for exact schedule.

Buena Vista Logging Day

Feb 02, 2013

Buena Vista Ski Area Bemidji, MN US 56601

Since 1985, old time logging demonstrations, induction of lumberjacks into the hall of fame, sleigh rides, live entertainment and lumberjack contest. All you can eat flapjack meals in blacksmith shop 8am-3pm.
1,000 Attendees

Wing Bowl

Feb 01, 2013

Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia, PA US 19148

Since 1993. Started from an on-air remark about the Buffalo Bills inability to win a Super Bowl, maybe they should try a “Wing Bowl” and suddenly an event is born. The first Wing Bowl was 2 contestants and less than 150 people in attendance. Now the event fills every seat in the Wells Fargo by 5am. Over 25 contestants compete for the Liberty Bell trophy in what can only be called a “spectacle of gastronomic proportions”. There is a preview parade of the competitors and their “Wingettes” Contestants are chosen based on an eating stunt prior to the event on the local sports radio station morning show which hosts the event.
25,000 Attendees

Iola Winter Carnival

Feb 02, 2013 – Feb 03, 2013

Iola-Scandinavia High School Iola, WI US 54945

Since 1961, the festival features an ice carving sculpture contest, Norwegian Supper featuring Lutefisk, meatballs, Norwegian Pastries. Craft Show and Dinner at Iola-Scandinavia High School. Ski Jumping.
4,500 Attendees

Hanford Mill Ice Harvest

Feb 02, 2013

Hanford Mills Museum East Meredith, NY US 13757

A day of hands-on history and winter fun. What crop is best harvested in the middle of winter? For the answer, come to the Ice Harvest at Hanford Mills Museum. The day provides a hands-on history lesson—and a day of winter fun. Before there was refrigeration, ice was harvest to preserve agricultural products and to keep food cold in the warmer months. Visitors can walk out on the frozen mill pond and help cut blocks of ice using vintage ice saws. The ice will then be hauled by a horse-drawn sled, and packed in a traditional ice house. The ice harvested at the event will be used to make ice cream at the Hanford Mills Museum Independence Day Celebration. The Ice Harvest Festival also features horse-drawn sleigh rides, a hot soup buffet, hockey on the Mill Pond with the SUNY Oneonta Hockey Team, ice fishing demonstrations by the Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited, bonfires, films showing ice harvests in the 1930s, traditional candy-making in the Hanford House, vendors offering hamburgers and fries (Eagle Ridge BBQ), cheese (Byebrook Farm), baked goods (Junkyard Bakehaus) and fresh roasted peanuts (State Line Camping Center) as well as hand-knit hats and mittens (Promisedland Farm), outdoor kids’ activities led by Oneonta World of Learning (11 am – 1 pm), the Haudenosaunee game “Snow Snake” led by Native American craft expert Barry Keegan (conditions permitting). The Hot Soup Buffet is a favorite way for visitors to warm up during Ice Harvest. Soup is donated by area restaurants.
1,000 Attendees

Winterfest and National Snow Sculpting Competition

Jan 30, 2013 – Feb 03, 2013

Riviera Park Lake Geneva, WI US 53147

Since 1995. A one-of-a kind event. Activities include snow sculpting, music, children’s activities, helicopter rides, horse drawn carriage rides, shopping and dining and crowning of the champions.
30,000 Attendees

Dowagiac Ice Time

Feb 02, 2013

Central Business District Dowagiac, MI US 49047

Dowagiac Ice Time takes the chill off winter as the Victorian central business district is filled with glistening works of art. Culinary chefs carve 400- pound ice blocks into such intricate sculptures as life-size ballerinas, skiers and bicyclists.Watch timber and wood carvers. Gather ‘round the campfire and indulge yourself with warm and chocolaty S’mores. Enjoy our smokin’ good BBQ or sample southwestern Michigan’s spiciest chili during the professional cook-off. Be sure to arrive early for the Winter Hibernation Sale. Shopkeepers, who open their doors before dawn, award deep discounts to patrons still dressed in their warm jammies.

Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race

Feb 01, 2013 – Feb 03, 2013

Echo Valley Gravel Pit Bayfield, WI US 54814

Since 1994. There are two main races: an 8-dog, 80-mile race and a 6-dog, 60-mile race. A 40-mile Sportsman’s Race and a 16 and under 10-mile Family Race will also be held over the weekend. Multiple spectator locations with amenities including warming tent with concessions and bonfire.

Snowflake Festival

Feb 02, 2013

Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary Jamestown, NY US 14701

Features outdoor activities including snowshoeing, sleigh rides, cross country skiing, skating and sledding. Also indoor activities including arts and crafts, build-a-bluebird house, and demonstrations of wool spinning, winter camping demonstrations by the Fluvanna Boy Scouts, wood carvers display, handmade soap and lotions. Kitchen is open with hot chili, baked goods and hot/cold beverages.

Burlington Winter Festival

Feb 02, 2013

Church Street Marketplace Burlington, VT US 05401

Since 1992. Burlington Winter Festival features a variety of fun-filled events, held both indoors and out. Activities include Vermont’s own sanctioned snow sculpture competition at Waterfront Park, Family Expo with activities and crafts at ECHO, entertainment at Contois featuring Young Tradition, and more. This festive weekend is produced by Burlington Parks and Recreation and sponsored by ECHO, Star 92.9 and Price Chopper. Most events are free.

Warm Up Oswego Festival

Feb 01, 2013 – Feb 02, 2013

Oswego YMCA Oswego, NY US 13126

A fun, family festival with games, food, vendors, entertainment, and fireworks over the Oswego River. Includes a bonfire Friday night.

FDNY and East Coast Firefighter Races

Jan 30, 2013

Hunter Mountain Hunter, NY US 12442

Since 1974. Hunter Mountain is hosting one of the most unusual ski races to be found anywhere, as members of the New York Fire Department make their annual trip to Hunter Mountain. On Tuesday, teams of five firefighters dressed in full turn-out gear attempt to navigate through a race course while carrying a 50 foot fire hose. This race is open to any New York City Firefighter. The winners of Tuesday’s race have the chance to race in the East Coast Firefighter’s Race on Wednesday for the East Coast Championship. Proceeds from this event will be donated to the N.Y. Firefighters Burn Center Foundation. Then on Wednesday, it’s the East Coast Firefighters Race. This day is open to any paid or volunteer fire company OUTSIDE of New York City.

Knickerbocker Ice Festival

Feb 01, 2013 – Feb 02, 2013

Commons Park Lake Mills, WI US 53551

This festival includes something for everyone. A Team Trivia Contest on Friday night starts off the weekend. On Saturday, watch ice carvers create sculptures in front of many downtown businesses or participate in the fisheree and ice golf tournament on Rock Lake. Have a great chili recipe? Prove it at the Fire and Ice Chili Cook- off. And join the fun in Commons Park where kids and adults compete in the Sno Ball eating contest, IdiderDAD Race and Frozen Fish Toss (yes, they are real fish!). Competitive shopping you sport of choice? Buy a Knickerbocker Button and reap the benefits of discounts and specials at our retail and eating establishments.

Maria can be reached directly at or visit her website at
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