The annual WinterFest, organized by the La Porte Park and Recreation Department, returns in late January, with a many of the events enjoyed over the past years as well a couple new twists to bring a blast of winter fun to town.

The events kick off with Ice Sculpture Demonstrations, presented by Downtown La Porte and local businesses and organizations. The sculptures will line our city’s sidewalks beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23. The carvings offer shoppers an opportunity to peruse the offerings of downtown shops while admiring the creative designs.

Opening night continues with a special Zumba event from 4:15-6:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, at the Civic Auditorium. The free fun-filled physical activities will be highlighted by a Zumba fund-raiser for cervical cancer, with walking offered as a low-impact exercise option. If you cannot make the first hour, join us for the second hour of activity. Participants are asked to wear workout clothes, including clean gym shoes. Presented with IU Health La Porte Hospital and La Porte County Family YMCA.

For creative adults and children alike, Family Ceramics runs from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Jan. 24, on the lower level of the Civic Auditorium. Participants can paint seasonal gifts such as snowmen, Valentine’s Day boxes and figurines or think ahead with spring items such as Easter eggs. The cost is $5 which includes paints and brushes but not the bisque item for decorating. All children must have a parent or guardian present. Pre-registration is required by Jan. 22 at the Park Office (250 Pine Lake Avenue) or by phone at (219) 326-9600. Flyer

Design and build a person powered, corrugated cardboard sled capable of withstanding the decent down the Kesling Park Sledding Hill for the WinterFest Cardboard Sled Race from 1-2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24! This is a great event for friends, families and local business who want to have fun creating the fastest, most spectacular cardboard sled around. This is a free event for all to enjoy but make sure you register early! Flyer & Registration Form

For those who enjoy a brisk winter jog, a non-competitive, 3.5-mile Fun Run will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25, in Soldiers Memorial Park. The free event starts and finishes at Cummings Lodge, followed by refreshments and prize drawings. This is an untimed event and no awards will be presented.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides are offered for free from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25, in Soldiers Memorial Park. After a trot through the park, hot chocolate will be available by the fireplace at Cummings Lodge.

For ages 5 and older, a Children’s Winter Craft Class is offered from 2-3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25, at Cummings Lodge. The cost $2 per child and includes all materials. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is required by Jan. 22 at the Park Office (250 Pine Lake Avenue) or by phone at (219) 326-9600. Flyer

The Helping Heroes Ice Fishing Derby is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 31, beginning with registration at 8 a.m. at Cummings Lodge. Cash prizes will be awarded in various categories based on registration fees. The day concludes with measurements at 2 p.m. at the lodge. The cost is $15 for adults or $5 for children, if pre-registered by Jan. 30. The cost at the door will be $20 for adults and $10 for children.  Fays Marina in La Porte is sponsoring the first $100 in children registration fees, so sign up early. Christo’s Family Dining is sponsoring a chili lunch! Flyer

The “Snowball Softball” Adult Coed Tournament returns to Lions Field at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, and will be held come snow or more snow. The double-elimination tournament is limited to the first eight teams to register. NSA coed rules apply. Team awards for first, second and third place and individual awards for first place. The cost is $165 per team. The pre-registration deadline has been extended to 4 p.m. on Jan. 28. Turn in rosters & wavier forms to the Park Office (250 Pine Lake Avenue.)  Rules & Roster Form

For more information on WinterFest, follow the La Porte Park and Recreation Department Facebook page or call (219) 326-9600.