Iowa is finally seeing a glimpse of winter as the snow begins to fall, and the streets remain slushy.
But the warm temperatures of months past hasn't hindered the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce from planning the University of Okoboji Winter Games.
"We have had warm winters in the past," said Tom Kuhlman, Executive Vice President for the Chamber of Commerce. "We will have ice for the Winter Games."
Kuhlman is confident that Iowa's current winter temperatures will ready the lake for the January 25th start of the games. In fact, the bays began to freeze over on Christmas Eve.
The 22nd annual Winter Games begin on January 25th with a Chili Cook-Off at Mau Marine followed by three area basketball games including Spirit Lake playing host to Emmetsburg. Okoboji will be at Orange City, and the Harris Lake Park Wolves will host Graettinger. A Snowball Dance and Moonlight Ski will follow on opening day.
A number of winter activities will be available to the public on Saturday, January 26, including broomball, dogsled rides, ice bowling, mini golf, ice fishing, and even a talent show.
The Winter Games which normally span three days, will have an extra day of events tacked on this year.
"We will be having a Winter Games Dance Party along with the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," said Kuhlman. "A touring band was going to be in our area, and asked if they could play in conjunction with the games. They will be saluting Buddy Holly."
The Dance Party will be held at the Arnolds Park Pavilion on Monday January 28th.
Although temperatures should be cool for the January 25-28th games, a large crowd is expected.
"With events spanning Spirit Lake to Milford, we will have several thousand people taking part in the University of Okoboji Winter Games," said Kuhlman. "Area retailers have said that business is better than it is on the 4th of July."
Team events, including broomball, the talent show, flag football, water volleyball, the 5K and 10K road races, and the Freeze Your Fanny Bike Ride, all require preregistration.
The children's events however do not.
For more information about the 22nd annual University of Okoboji Winter Games, contact the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.