The Lake Superior Ice Festival is coming back to Barker’s Island with free, fun, family-friendly events in an outdoor venue.
The festival kicks off the afternoon of Friday, Jan. 29, and continues through Saturday, Jan. 30.
Mayor Jim Paine said organizers are optimistic that an outdoor festival can be safe even in a pandemic.
“We were pretty cautious early in the pandemic,” Paine said. “As time has gone on, there’s been plenty of evidence that outdoor activity is very safe, and we’re getting that pretty much from all levels of government and medical advice. We did impose some safety precautions on the Ice Festival. We’ll be doing things to minimize crowds and masks are still encouraged … It’s the darkest, coldest month of the year. It’s nice to get outside and have a little fun.”
Organizers are having masks made and plan to give them out to people who forget to bring one, said Linda Cadotte, Superior’s parks, recreation and forestry director.
They will also use hay bale trailers instead of ATV trailers to help people spread out more.
“We’re excited to bring family activities to Superior during a really difficult time with this pandemic ... It’s a positive activity and gives people something to look forward to,” Cadotte said.
Festival attendees will see some familiar events like the snow slide, the Island Disc Golf Course, Learn to Play Kubb and Midwest and Lake Superior ice racing associations races. Children will also have the opportunity to have their photo taken with ice princesses and other characters.
New events this year will allow attendees to make their own snow creations at Fairlawn Mansion or crown a K-9 King and Queen of the Festival hosted by the Humane Society of Douglas County. In addition to the snow creations, Fairlawn is offering half-price tours during the festival. More events will be announced as the event draws closer.
The College of St. Scholastica’s outdoor pursuits program is also hosting fat tire demos and the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve is handling snowshoe demos, Cadotte said.
Another new feature of the festival is just for adults: Earth Rider Brewery is planning to bring its beer trailer.
The Barker's Island Inn will allow participants to use their large ballroom, but Cadotte said it's the only indoor space that is part of the festival.
There are so many features of the winter event that everyone is sure to find something of interest, said Taylor Pedersen, president and CEO of the Superior-Douglas County Area Chamber of Commerce and Travel Superior.
“The festival is a wonderful collaboration of community organizations coming together to make one fantastic and inviting event for attendees of all ages and interests," he said.
Also new this year is the title sponsor: Husky Refinery has stepped up to make a $10,000 contribution to help pay for the festivities.
“The 2021 Lake Superior Ice Festival is a great opportunity to bring us all together to feel the warmth of winter — a much needed break after this past year. The Superior refinery team is looking forward to chillin’ with you at this safe and fun event,” said Gavin Hamilton, senior communications adviser for the refinery.
The organizers are still trying to work out some catering around the island, Cadotte said. She encouraged anyone who has a food truck to get in touch with her at 715-395-7270.
For more information, go to lakesuperioricefestival.com.