By Megan Wilson
With an overabundance of snow this year, Boyne City’s annual Winterfest is sure to be a crowd pleaser, complete with downtown shopping, a book-signing, snow sculptures, kids games, a chili cook-off, and a musical finish in the evening.
“Boyne’s annual Winterfest has been going on since the 1980s, it’s an event that is co-sponsored by Boyne City Main Street and the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce,” said Jim Baumann, Executive Director of the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce. “This event is great for everyone, there’s something to do for the entire family.”
“We have festivals and Stroll the Streets in the summer, and the Harvest Festival in October,” said Baumann. “The Morel festival is in spring. People tend to think of winter as bah humbug, but there’s so much that we can do for winter.”
Baumann added, “Winterfest emphasizes that winter is a fun time of year, and our local economy depends on a fun time for visitors and locals alike, this event is designed to help do that.”
This year’s Winterfest sculptures are sure to be plentiful as nine entries are expected to be on display throughout the Sunset Park.
“We’ve invited some colleges to participate in the sculpture contest as well as the high school and middle school, last year we had eight or nine blocks, this year I think it’s going to be about the same,” said Lou Diaz, who is organizing the Snow Sculpture events.
“Last year after we got them built, we had 200 people who voted on ‘best in show’ for the sculptures—there was always someone who was taking pictures.”
Snow sculptures are formed in blocks four or six feet long, and are solidified by putting the snow in boxes and slowly accumulating the snow depth by alternating between snow and spritzes of water to make sure the snow keeps its shape once it is removed from the box.
“We put about three one-foot sections in order for them to do it,” said Diaz. “This year the Boyne Area Scouts are coming to help us out (which they did on Saturday Jan. 18) along with our other volunteers, and we really appreciate that.”
Judging for the snow sculptures takes place on Saturday Jan. 25 at 3 p.m., and awards will be given out at 5 p.m.
There will be plenty of shopping to go around as downtown merchants provide a place for visitors to go to get out of the cold.
There will be sledding, ice skating, and cross-country skiing at Avalanche Preserve Recreation Area, at the end of Wilson Street, the warming house has restrooms and loaner skates and sleds.
The cross-country ski session takes place at 1 p.m. and will be at The Hill Nature Preserve on West Clute Road, the session is for intermediate/advanced levels only.
This year one of the new events is a book signing by John Deckinga, taking place at 1 p.m., he will be signing the book, “The Road to Cocoyoc,” after a reading and discussion at Local Flavor Bookstore, 125 Water St.
From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. kids games will be taking place at Old City Park, including Frozen Fish Toss and Frozen Turkey Bowling.
Complimentary hot-chocolate and doughnuts from Glen’s Market.will also be available at Old City Park, at the corner of Park and River streets.
“We are proud to continue to sponsor Winterfest and give back to the Boyne Community that supports us all year,” said Tracy Donaldson, Manager of Glen’s Markets in Boyne.
Also taking place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. are horse-drawn sleigh rides at Old City Park, admission is $1 per person.
Also taking place at 3 p.m. is the Chili Cook Off at Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors 231 Water St., a competition between area businesses; chili tasting is free to the public.
“We have 16 businesses that are registered; it doesn’t cost anything for a business to register,” said Libbie Talboys, Office Manager at Coldwell Banker. “We have three judges from area businesses, and there will be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize, as well as a traveling trophy for the winner.”
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. there will be wine-tasting at the Wine Emporium, 123 Water St., where there will be a complimentary taste of three seasonal offerings, as well as snacks.
At 5 p.m. the snow sculpture winners will be announced in Sunset Park.
From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. star-gazing with Brian Shumaker of the Northern Michigan Astronomy Club in Sunset Park will be held (clouds permitting).
At 8 p.m. there will be a concert featuring Steppin’ In It at Freshwater Art Gallery, 217 South Lake St. For tickets, please call 582-2588.
“Steppin’ In It is a band that has toured the country. They are a great band, this concert has 175 seats, ticket sales are selling through the roof,” said Tony Williams of Freshwater Art Gallery.
“This is an intimate concert. It’s held inside a gallery, where the listener is surrounded by art.”
There will be another concert at 8 p.m. with Sean Bielby and Adam Engelman at Cafe Sante, at One Water Street.