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Monday, February 4, 2008

Freezin' fun

--- Whitewater's winter festival set for Saturday

By Donna Lenz Wright/The Week

Whitewater's annual Freeze Fest has more planned this year than ever before. Beginning at 6:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at the Armory, the fun lasts all day Saturday, Feb. 9 all over town.
File Photo
Contestants in the 2007 Whitewater Freeze Fest ice-carving contest.
Rollie Cooper will be providing cozy-warm horse-drawn carriage rides from the Armory to the downtown shops and the Cravath Lakefront Park.

"We're kicking off a Polar Plunge this year, sponsored by the Special Olympics," said Michelle Dujardin, recreation and community events programmer. "They've worked very hard to bring the community and the campus together for this event."

Special Olympics volunteers have already gotten nearly 100 people registered by staging challenges between sororities, sports teams and dormitory floors, Dujardin said.

Challenge your own nemeses to a plunge for a great cause.

The fishing derby begins bright and early at 8 a.m. at the lakefront park with a special treat for the first 50 kids who arrive ready to hook the big one.

"The Whitewater Optimists are giving the first 50 kids free fishing poles ... and providing bait too," Dujardin says. "Kids can catch blue gills, perch or may even get a northern."

The big chili cook-off is back again this year at a new location. Because the Seniors in the Park are using the lakefront building as their headquarters for the day's event, the chili party will be in the mall at 162 E. Main St., right downtown.

Freeze Fest-goers can sample chilis for free and vote for their favorites. The winner will receive a $50 purse and bragging rights for the year.

But don't skip the lakefront building because the Seniors in the Park are teaming up with the Stone Mill Quilters for a show and fund-raiser with hopes of raising 1 million pennies (or more) for a new van to transport members for Seniors in the Park activities. Otherwise, their million-penny collection box is located at First Citizens Bank, 207 W. Main St.

Big Brick Park on Center Street will hold a free open skate with a DJ 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; shops and eateries will be offering Freeze Fest specials and plenty of warm goodies; the Mercy Fitness & Whitewater Aquatic Center is holding an open swim 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library will hold a Snow Dog Presentation 2-3 p.m. complete with puppies and hands-on snow- and working-dog lessons at 431 W. Center St.

And 10 big ice blocks all around lakefront park are available for 10 teams who would like to take their shot at snow sculpting at no charge. Just register with Dujardin by calling 473-0121.

"Everyone will meet at 9 a.m. to sketch out their sculptures and learn the basics, then they'll go out and see what they can do."

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