If it’s going to snow and be freezing in Northwest Indiana, you might as well make the best of it. And so was born - WinterFest in La Porte!
This past weekend the city of La Porte celebrated the annual WinterFest, despite the winter bite. Over the years, fest-goers have enjoyed this unique seasonal event coordinated by with City of La Porte Park and Recreation Department, and sponsored by local businesses.
“Great work by all of our dedicated team to make this year’s WinterFest a big success! These annual activities help bring our community together and highlight some of our recreational offerings, whether you’re enjoying outdoor or indoor events, spending time with family, friends and community helps make the cold days of January a little warmer," said Mark Krentz, mayor of La Porte.
The festivities began with the Ice Sculpture Demonstrations sponsored by American Licorice Company and City’s Pure Ice. Sculptors used chainsaws, hair dryers, clothing irons and wielded other tools for chiseling and picking to create their sculptures under the lovely lights of the Rotary Garden Gazebo.
“We never know what the weather is going to be,” said Pam Carroll, Recreation Director for the City of La Porte Park and Recreation Dept. “This year with the cold we think the sculptures will probably be around for another week!”
On Saturday morning, many visited Luhr County Park Nature Center for Breakfast with the Birds sponsored by the La Porte County Parks. Family and friends observed feathered friends and learned about their favorite winter birds while munching on a delicious meal.
Local artist Alayna Bublitz offered a Wheel Throwing Pottery Demonstration where many had the opportunity to learn a new skill and get their hands dirty at the wheel. A family-friendly ceramics class also was offered
Becca Conley Masters held a free WinterFest Barre class so people could sample this unique workout that helps isolate muscles, improve flexibility, and tone the core.
Many joined the American Legion Post 83 for a little taste of summer in the middle of winter: - a cornhole tournament!
What makes the La Porte WinterFest specifically unique, is its ability to attract a crowd in the cold conditions. Competitive Snowball Softball tournaments are traditional to the Fest alongside the Community Snow Angel event, where the city tests how many people can gather to make a Snow Angel at once in Soldiers Park Field.
“Snowball softball was a huge hit. We had a total of 5 teams participate. They braved the cold all day long,” Carroll said. “Let’s just say, it was a nice cool day for them.”
To conclude the fest, traditional horse-drawn wagon rides took place on Sunday for those to trot in the park while drinking warm hot cocoa and snuggling loved ones. Cummings Lodge and its cozy fireplace make for the perfect place for community members to gather for the rides.
“I think it’s a tradition. There are many of those who remember when WinterFest first started all those years ago. The events we have are staples. It brings out the people who remember and it’s always the last weekend of January,” Carroll said. “This weekend was perfect for WinterFest.”
The City of La Porte Park and Recreation Dept. thanks all who participated, sponsored, and hosted this year’s WinterFest 2019, and looks forward to next year’s festivities. For more information, visit http://www.cityoflaporte.com/.