WinterFest

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 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24. The carvings offer shoppers an opportunity to peruse the offerings of downtown shops while admiring the creative designs.

Opening night continues with a special Fitness Friday from 4:15-6:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, at the Civic Auditorium. The free fun-filled physical activities will be highlighted by a Zumba fund-raiser for cervical cancer, with yoga and walking offered as low-impact exercise options. 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. The event is presented along with the IU Health La Porte Hospital and La Porte County Family YMCA.

The Chicago Blackhawks are giving kids the opportunity to participate in a free outdoor Street Hockey Clinic from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Civic Auditorium. The clinic is free for boys and girls ages 9-16, with the equipment and instruction provided by the Blackhawks. Participants register the day of the event and must have a parent or guardian sign a waiver. Free hot chocolate will be available in the Civic lobby.

For creative adults and children alike, Family Ceramics runs from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Jan. 25, 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. 23 at the Park Office (250 Pine Lake Avenue) or by phone at (219) 326-9600.

The “Snowball Softball” Adult Coed Tournament returns to Lions Field at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, 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. Pre-registration is required by Jan. 23 at the Park Office (250 Pine Lake Avenue) or by phone at (219) 326-9600.

The Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast will start off Sunday events from 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26. The club will serve pancakes, eggs, sausage and beverages at the National Guard Armory. The cost is $6 for adults, $3 for children or free for children age 5 or under.

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. 26, 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. 26, in Soldiers Memorial Park. After a trot through the park, hot chocolate will be available by the fireplace at Cummings Lodge.

For ages 4 and older, a Children’s Valentine Card Making Class is offered from 2-3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, 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. 23 at the Park Office (250 Pine Lake Avenue) or by phone at (219) 326-9600.

The events wrap up with the Rotary Club Perchin4Polio Ice Fishing Derby on Saturday, Feb. 1, beginning with registration at 6 a.m. at Cummings Lodge. Prizes will be awarded in various categories. The weight-in concludes the day at 4 p.m. at the lodge. The cost is $15 for adults or $7 for children, if pre-registered by Jan. 31. Chili will be available at the lodge throughout the day.

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