Menomonee Falls - Winter doesn't have to be a total drag.
In fact, the Menomonee Falls Business Improvement District is making sure it is the exact opposite with the sixth annual Village Centre Chilly Fest slated for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 16 in the downtown area and Mill Pond Park.
From ice carvers to chili connoisseurs, and children's games to outdoor bowling, the annual Chilly Fest features a little bit of everything for people of all ages.
"We started it to give families something to do in the midst of the cold months - something to look forward to and be outside and have fun," BID Manager Barb Watters said. "It's definitely a family thing to do and we always want to highlight our downtown and our ice carvings get people walking around and seeing stores they may not be familiar with."
Ice carvings decorate downtown
Individuals, families or groups of friends are invited to participate in amateur ice carving. The amateur carvings will be judged by a slew of professional ice carvers who will also be showcasing their skills outside of local businesses that elected to sponsor a carver. Carving will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and attendees can vote for their favorite sculpture. The winner will receive a people's choice award.
Any downtown business can sponsor an ice carver. Watters said so far there are 10 carvers signed-up for the event. Registration forms for amateur carvers and business sponsorship are available online at menomoneefallsdowntown.com. The deadline to participate is Feb. 11.
Chili and games galore
There are still slots open for the chili competition that has a maximum of 15 participants. Chili will be judged starting at 11 a.m. with winners announced around noon. Once the winners are announced there will be free samples for all Chilly Fest attendees.
The chili is judged by a panel of five people including Channel 12 Meteorologist Sally Severson and Menomonee Falls Village Trustee Jeff Steliga. Forms for the chili challenge are also available online.
"It's a great civic situation for us to enjoy the downtown area when it's cold out. It's beautiful down there," Village Board Trustee Michael McDonald said during last week's board meeting.
Throughout the event there will be food, entertainment, karaoke, beverages - including hot mulled wine, live minnow races, raffles for children and adults, as well as games at Mill Pond Park. Activities will take place under heated tents. For those wishing to stay outside, a fire will be provided, Watters said.
Bowl down the river
Ice bowling is also a featured event. Should the ice be thick enough on the Menomonee River, bowling lanes and pins will be set up there. Entry forms are online.
"We provide everything," Watters said.
Children can purchase a $2 wrist band, which allows them to play all of the games. This is a new feature of the event.
Chilly Fest this year is co-sponsored by Hanson Soft Water Specialists.
"They are a big supporter of downtown," Watters said.
For more information on the event, contact Watters at (262) 251-8797.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Village Centre Chilly Fest
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 16
WHERE: Downtown and Mill Pond Park
CONTACT: Barb Watters, (262) 251-8797
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