The heat is on — Warm up with WinterFest

The heat is on — Warm up with WinterFest
Rochester is ready to celebrate with the 10th annual WinterFest Feb. 2-12.

It's beginning to look a lot like winter, and Rochester is ready to celebrate with the 10th annual WinterFest Feb. 2-12.

The goal of WinterFest is to promote wintertime activities while raising awareness and funds for area nonprofit organizations. Last year, more than 25,000 people participated in 34 events and raised more than $365,000 for local nonprofits, and 230 pounds of food for Channel One.

Now that we finally have some snow on the ground, it seems like everything should go ahead as planned, including a new event, the Down Hill Derby toboggan race.

"One thing I wouldn't mind if they canceled is the Polar Bear Plunge," said John Shonyo, WinterFest chairman.

Although he's signed up to jump into the icy water twice before, it never worked out for him to do it.


"I'm not getting out of it this year since I'm the chair," he said. "At least if you do it, you can say you did it."

Here's some of what's coming up this year. Visit the WinterFest website for the full list.

Feb. 2

• Friends' WinterFest Book Sale, 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 2 and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 3, Rochester Public Library. Benefits Friends of the Rochester Public Library.

• Deuces Wild: Dueling Pianos8 p.m. The Venue at the Wicked Moose. Cost is $30, $35 VIP. Benefits Rochester Senior Center.

Feb. 3

• Fuel Rochester’s Brainiac Trivia Night, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Rochester Art Center. Cost is $10 individual, $60 team of eight for Fuel members, $15 individuals, $100 team of eight non-members. Benefits WinterFest.

• Bows, Bowlers and Bassoons: A Silent Movie Event, 7 p.m. Kahler Hotel. Cost is $10 advance, $12 at the door. Benefits Southeast Minnesota Youth Orchestra.


Feb. 4

• Warm-up to the Polar Bear Plunge, Whistle Binkies on the Lake. Benefits Special Olympics Minnesota. Events include: Pancake breakfast8:30 to 10 a.m. Cost is $5. Coed volleyball tournamentfrom 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $50 per team; pre-registration required. Ice fishing contest , noon to 4 p.m.; registration begins at 10 a.m. Cost is $10, plus optional Big Fish contest for $1. Frozen turkey bowlingand miniature golfon the lake, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $3 each. Silent auction, noon to 7 p.m. 50/50 raffle 4 p.m. Lutefisk eating contest, 5 p.m. Contestants have 10 minutes to eat as much lutefisk, meatballs, mashed potatoes and rutabagas as possible. Cash prize for first place. Cost is $20.

• Rochester Cardboard Sled Challenge, 8:30 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. design judging, 10 a.m. race, noon awards and lunch. Entry fee per team of one to four people is $25 for youth and teens ages 6-18, $75 ages 19 and older. Benefits Gamehaven Council, Boy Scouts of America

• WinterFest at the History Center: Sleigh Rides and Bonfire, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free-will donation. Benefits Special Olympics Minnesota.

• Channel One Mile of Mac & Cheese, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at all Rochester Hy-Vee stores. Donate food or cash.

• Free Family Day, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Rochester Art Center. Make your own snow globe. Free.

• Dance the Cold Away,11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Rochester International Dance Studio. Cost is $5 kids class, $10 adult class, $25 entire day. Family dance and yoga day. Reservations requested. Benefits Join the Journey.


• Frozen Goose 10K Timed Run, 5K Fun Run/Walk, Rochester Community and Technical College atrium. $25 donation. Benefits Optimist Club International Childhood Cancer Campaign and Brighter Tomorrows.

Feb. 8

• Chili Cook Off, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Goonies Comedy Club. Cost is $15. Benefits Alzheimer's Association.


Feb. 9-11

• SocialICE , 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Peace Plaza downtown Rochester. Free. Ice bar, ice glasses, ice sculptures, live music.

Feb. 10

• Polar Bear (Super) Plunge , 24 hours of plunging begins at 3 p.m. Foster Arend Park. $3,000 minimum pledge. Benefits Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.


Feb. 11

• SnoBall Softball Tournament, all day Feb. 11-12, Eagles Club. Cost is $100 per team. Benefits Eagles Cancer Telethon.

• Polar Cubs Outdoor Day Camp, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Gamehaven Scout Reservation. Cost is $5 for kids younger than 7, $20 for kids and teens younger than 17, $10 for anyone 18 and older. Family ice fishing, bowling, golf, curling, sleigh rides, sledding, s'mores, snow shoeing. Benefits Gamehaven Council, Boy Scouts of America.

• Youth Ice Fishing Contest, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Foster Arend Park. Cost is $8. Benefits Rochester '76 Lions Club sight projects.

• Families Friends & Flapjacks, 9 a.m. to noon, Canadian Honker Event Center at the Ramada Hotel. Cost is $5 in advance, $6 at the door. Benefits Civic League Day Nursery tuition assistance program.

• Savory Soup Luncheon and Craft Show, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Madonna Towers. Benefits Madonna Living Community Foundation.

• Polar Bear Plunge, 1:15 p.m. Foster Arend Park. $75 minimum pledge. Benefits Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

• "A Country Side" Murder Mystery, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Plummer House. Cost is $30. Interactive murder mystery with wine and desserts. Benefits Elder Network.


Feb. 12

• Dog Sledding, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Quarry Hill Nature Center. Cost is $5, $20 per family. Benefits Quarry Hill Nature Center.

• Lace Up Against Breast Cancer, 10 a.m., Mayo High School. Cost is $35 half marathon, $30 5k or 2-mile walk. Benefits Mayo Clinic breast cancer research.

• Down Hill Derby, noon to 3 p.m. Willow Creek Golf Course. Cost is $10. Benefits Rochester Better Chance. Toboggan races, bring your own sled.

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