Chili to broomball to 'Polar Bears' this weekend at the Winter Games
There is one place in Iowa in January where snow and ice and frigid temperatures are not only tolerated, they are embraced with open arms.
The 28th annual University of Okoboji Winter Games kicks off Friday and continues through Sunday with plenty of traditional favorites - from wild broomball action to steaming chili to rollicking rock 'n' roll bands - plus a few new events and lots of special activities for the children.
The Chili Cook-Off will be Friday, with 41 chefs offering up tempting tastes of their finest recipes. The Polar Plunge, to be held Saturday at 3 p.m. at Okoboji Boat Works, features brave adventurers jumping through holes cut in the thick lake ice.
The Winter Games Extravaganza Saturday begins at 6:30 p.m., complete with a fireworks display, a massive bonfire fueled by discarded Christmas trees, awards ceremony and National Guard salute. Ice skating will be offered all weekend with a small fee for skates. For $5, join in the angling at "The World's Largest Ice Fishing House." Shuttle rides will be available Friday and Saturday.
After a couple of years of unseasonably warm weather threatening the more chilly events, organizers are thrilled with the snow and cold headed into this year's Winter Fames.
Following in a list of just a few highlights among the events. For a full Winter Games schedule, visit www.vacationokoboji.com.
FRIDAY: Edna Wattier Memorial Bridge Party, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Minervas; Chili Cook-Off and Dessert Bar, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Dickinson County Expo Building; Spas on Ice, 5 p.m., Smith's Bay; Big Nacho Karaoke, 7 p.m., Okoboji Boat Works Fish House; The play "Love Letters," 7:30 p.m., Pearson Lakes Art Center; Rock the Roof concert, 8 p.m., Dickinson County Expo Building; Damon Dotson in concert, 8 p.m., Okoboji Boat Works; The Fishheads (a band that has appeared at Storm Lake's Star Spangled Spectacular), 8 p.m., Captain's Getaway; Murphy's Law, 8 p.m., The Ritz - and more music in many locations.
SATURDAY: Broomball tournament starts, 8 a.m., Smith's Bay; Softball tournament, 8 a.m., Smith's Bay; Flag football, 8 a.m., Mau Marine; Okoboji Summer Theatre Omelet Brunch, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Arnolds Park Pavilion; American Graffiti Meets Okoboji, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Iowa Rock 'N' Roll Music Association Museum; University of Okoboji Chess Open, 9:30 a.m., Arrowwood; Freeze Your Fanny Bike Ride, 10 a.m., Okoboji Expedition Co.; Spas on Ice, 10 a.m., Smith's Bay; Bench Press Competition, 10 a.m. Cardio Plus; Hot Chocolate & Goodies, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Discovery House; Hockey Shoot-Out, 10 a.m. to noon, Smith's Bay; Special Winter Display, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Maritime Museum; Snowmobile Poker Run, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Okoboji Boat Works; Snowball Drop, 10:30 a.m. Uptown Spirit Lake; Little Sioux OHV/ATV Ice Challenge, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Ritz; Winter Games Volleyball Tournament, 11 a.m., Fox Plaza; Family Fun at the Tube Hill, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Horseshoe Bend; Powder Puff Broomball, 12 p.m., Smith's Bay; Boji Blizzard Mighty Mites v. Sioux Center Tornadoes Hockey, Noon to 1 p.m., Smith's Bay; Ice Bowling, Mini Golf, and Wienie Toss, 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., Okoboji Boat Works; Golf Ball Long Drive Contest, Noon to 2 p.m., Smith's Bay; Road Race 5K/10K, 1:30 p.m., Spirit Lake Middle School; Okoboji Underwater Search & Rescue Demo, 2 p.m., Okoboji Boat Works; Polar Bear Plunge, 3 p.m., Okoboji Boat Works; Tim Horsman, 3:30 p.m., Okoboji Boat Works; 2008 Winter Games Extravaganza, 6:30 p.m. Arnolds Park Green Space; "Love Letters," 7:30 p.m., Pearson Lakes Art Center; The Senders, 7:30 p.m., Okoboji Boat Works; The Fishheads, 8 p.m., Captain's Getaway; Murphy's Law, 8 p.m., The Ritz, plus more music at several sites.
SUNDAY: Broomball Tournament, 9 a.m., Smith's Bay; Spas on Ice, 10 a.m., Smith's Bay; Snowshoe Hike for the Family, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m., Horseshoe Bend; Snowmobile Radar Run, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oak Hill Marina; Family Fun at the Tube Hill, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Horseshoe Bend; Broomball Championship, 12 p.m., Smith's Bay; American Graffiti Meets Okoboji, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Iowa Rock 'N' Roll Music Association Museum; Dodgeball Tournament, 1 p.m., Bedell Family YMCA; Winter Follies Talent Show, 2 p.m., Pearson Lakes Art Center.