The coolest aspects of living in northern Wisconsin will be on display this weekend at the Lake Superior Ice Festival.
The festival runs Friday, Jan. 24 and Saturday, Jan. 25 at Barker’s Island, and features old favorites and new adventures for kids and families to enjoy.
Hockey enthusiasts won’t find the Great Lakes Pond Hockey tournament on the island this year. It’s been replaced by the Souptown Showdown, which runs Saturday, Jan. 25 and Sunday, Jan. 26 at the Superior Amateur Hockey Association’s ice arena, 1015 Oakes Ave.
“It’s a really fun game where people take shots across the ice and there’s going to be a scoring method with it. It’s going to be a register-on-the-fly sort of thing. In the past, when people see it happening, they want to participate too, so they get to register on the fly. No helmets or skates needed for that," said Andrew Amys of SAHA.
Nine teams have signed up for the inaugural 3-on-3 round robin event, he said. Championship rounds will be played on Sunday and the Duluth Figure Skating Club will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, he said.
This year is about working the bugs out of the new tournament with the goal of a larger tournament next year, Amys said.
“It is our primary and largest fundraiser for youth hockey in Superior,” Amys said, adding that even if people don’t want to participate, they can come down for food and refreshments while they watch the teams play.
“We have a Kubb tournament sponsored by Lake Superior Kubb down on the island and there will be a disc golf course set up throughout the island, courtesy of Lake Superior Disc Golf,” said Linda Cadotte, Superior’s parks, recreation and forestry director. “Those are two new features. Being that pond hockey isn’t down there, that opened up quite a bit of new ice for us to work with and work with other partners on.”
Ice festival favorites will be on tap, as well, including the half-pipe snow slide sponsored be Veit. Sleds will be available, but people are welcome to bring their own, Cadotte said. The slide will remain open as long as the snow is still there.
The Ice Character meet and greet returns from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday in the festival park area. Sterling Silver Studio is this year's sponsor.
“There might be a few new characters this year,” Cadotte said. “We may or may not have Olaf to join the princesses and a few other ice characters.”
People will just have to show up on Barker’s Island to find out for themselves.
Other favorites to check out include bonfires and smores, the craft fair, cookie decorating, the sauna, kid's zone and fire twirlers, to name a few.
“It should be a good time, and it looks like the weather is going to warm up just enough, but not too much,” Cadotte said.
In addition, there will be the ice orb art installation; open ice skating; ice carvers in action; a hay bale shuttle ride sponsored by Mac Sports; a Big Pond Bonspiel by the Superior Curling Club; the Guns and Hoses hockey tournament featuring Superior police officers and firefighters; and racing by Lake Superior Ice Racing Association and Midwest Ice-Racing Association.
Fireworks will start at 5:30 p.m., earlier than previous years.
Following the outdoor activities, MIRA is sponsoring live music at Barker’s Island Inn at 8 p.m., Cadotte said.
For a full list of events, and a map with the locations of ice carvings around town, visit lakesuperioricefestival.com.