While most towns are settling in for a calm, cold January after a busy holiday season, Deer Park is revving up for its annual Winterfest event today. Every year hundreds of people come out into the cold to celebrate the coldest month of the year with a festive flair.
For 26 years, Deer Park has hosted this event, currently organized by the Deer Park Kiwanis organization. The main purpose is to take away the winter blues and get people out to enjoy the community, said Warren Schick, a Kiwanis member. All activities are family-friendly.
Starting at 7 a.m. you can get the full meal deal breakfast at the Eagles Lodge, 12 W. “S” St., for $4. Other morning events include the Winterfest opening ceremony, 10 a.m. at the Community Arts Center, 315 E. Crawford St., a chess tournament at Arcadia Elementary and Snowshoe Softball at Perrins Field, 201 E. Crawford St.
If you own a GPS or metal detector, go on the hunt. The Snow Treasure Hunt uses metal detectors to find objects in the snow. It is the longest running metal detecting activity in the state, Schick said. There also will be a geocache activity, where a GPS device is used as a modern twist to the traditional treasure hunt.
To work on those New Year’s resolutions and keep warm, you can choose from several athletic events, including the 5K Frostbite Footrace that wanders through Deer Park streets and is put on by the Deer Park High School track team. Check-in and registration are available the day of the event at the Community Arts Center from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.; the race starts at 10.
Another way to get your kicks in the cold is the Winterfest staple Outhouse Races. Spectators and sportsmen alike enjoy this annual event where teams of four runners push a miniature outhouse, with a rider inside, on skis across an often snow-filled Perrins Field, held at noon. For more fun in the cold, try broomball at 1 p.m. in the parking lot at 811 S. Main St. Broomball is an activity similar to hockey with a ball and brooms taped together with duct tape. Teams slip and slide on whatever surface the winter allows.
To warm your insides, the chili cook-off at Yoke’s Supermarket is always a crowd-pleaser. Contestants cook chili on-site and are judged on flavor, after-bite, heat, color, texture and aroma. Other indoor events include a book sale, music, a bake sale, art show, craft sale and children’s activities throughout the day.
Still need to get rid of your Christmas tree? Watch it go up in flames by donating it for the closing bonfire. The local firefighters show off their pyrotechnics by igniting a mountain of trees at 7 p.m. at Perrins Field. As the fire starts to fade, the day draws to an end with a fireworks show.
For more information for events, go to www.deerparkchamber.com, or, call the Deer Park Chamber of Commerce at (509) 276-9551.