January and February tend to bring out the wintertime blahs in people. Well, an antidote is at hand.
Starting this week in Chatfield and Pine Island, cities and communities across Southeast Minnesota begin holding their annual winterfests to break up the winter monotony.
Chatfield will kick off the festivities with Chillfest on Saturday, Jan. 28. Starting with the popular rummage sale that takes place at Chatfield United Methodist Church at 9 a.m., the city will a variety of activities throughout the day. It will include at Health Fair at 10 a.m., a Polar Plunge at Mill Creek at 2 p.m., a Bunco Party at Women’s Community Club at 3 p.m., and a Chili Supper at 4:30 p.m. at Pioneer Presbyterian Church at 4:30.
The day ends with a candlelight snowshoe walk at Bluff County Hiking Club at 5:30 p.m. and a concert by The Lonely Knees at the Chatfield Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m.
Mike Tuohy, one of Chillfest’s organizers, said the line-up changes only slightly from year to year. But Turkey Bowling won’t be a sponsored activity this year as it has in some years, because of the lack of hard ice. Contestants bowl a frozen turkey across the ice and try to knock down a bunch of pins. Slushy conditions kind of killed that idea.
“People wander all around,” Tuohy said. “And we hope the stores and shops in town get a little trade.”
Pine Island will also hold its Winterfest on the last Saturday of January. The day will include cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, ice skating, movies, children’s art projects and food.
Rochester Winterfest will start its two-week celebration on Thursday with “Deuces Wild” dueling pianos at 125 Live from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Over the two weeks, Rochestfest will bring more than 6,500 attendees to the more than 30 events. An estimated $350,000 will raised in that time, organizers predict.