Residents in Northwest Wisconsin know that winter is not just a season; it is a force in our lives that deserves to be celebrated. Organizers of the Lake Superior Ice Festival want to do just that through a family-friendly event that celebrates all things winter.
The Lake Superior Ice Festival is a community driven festival that takes all of the coolest aspects of our region and brings it together for a weekend of fun. The festival runs from January 26, 27, and 28 and is held at Barkers Island in Superior, Wisconsin. Centered on the Great Lakes Pond Hockey Classic, the Ice Festival features events for the whole family including a snow slide, ice carvings, ice racing, a kid’s zone, and more.
The Great Lakes Pond Hockey Tournament is a three-day four-on-four tournament played on rinks laid on the water just off Barkers Island. This round-robin tournament began in 2004 as a Superior Amateur Hockey Association (SAHA) fundraiser with all net proceeds dedicated to keeping youth hockey rates affordable for all families in the Superior area. With four divisions – Women’s, Open, Senior, and Child, skaters of all levels are welcome to come and compete. To kick-off the tournament on Friday, the Superior Fire Department and Superior Police Department will hold a “Guns and Hoses” exhibition pond hockey charity game with all proceeds to benefit SAHA. Registration for teams will be open up until a week before the tournament and teams may register online at GreatLakesPondHockey.com.
Attendees who are not quite into hockey yet still enjoy spectating a fast-paced sporting event will be able to enjoy Ice Racing courtesy of the Midwest Ice Racing Association (MIRA) and the Lake Superior Ice Racing Association (LSIRA.) MIRA, which offers youth dirt bike and ATV races, will be holding their races just off Barker’s Island starting at 11 am. At noon LSIRA will race stock-cars on an ice track down at Loons Foot Landing on Allouez Bay which is a five minute drive from festival grounds.
Keeping with the “ice” theme, on Friday and Saturday festival goers will be treated to watching professional ice sculptures in action as they craft and carve blocks of ice into beautiful creations including an Ice Throne. On Saturday, Kids can try their own hand at ice sculpting with demos at 11am and 1pm. There will also be interactive ice components including the ORB365 Superior Community art instillation. ORB365 run by the City of Superior Environmental Services Division coordinates donated “orbs” from Students and children across Superior where each ice orb represents a day in which access to fresh water is important.
One of the biggest (literally) features of the Lake Superior Ice Festival is the Enbridge/UPI Snow Slide. The first thing you’ll see when you enter festival grounds, the Snow Slide is an epic amount of snow that is expertly fashioned by our partners at Enbridge and UPI into one large hill for sliding. Kids and adults alike can zip down the slide as many times as they’d like and after warm up with bonfires and hot-chocolate near the base.
Also on Saturday, the Kid’s Zone will have indoor and outdoor components that include crafts, scavenger hunts, games, and more with food vendors and music in a heated tent outside to keep festival goers entertained. Ice Princesses along with other special characters will be roaming around to meet, great, and take pictures with kids between noon and 3pm. Sterling Silver Dance Studio will dazzle festival goers with an outside fire twirler show. Also around the festival grounds you’ll find more bon-fires, s’mores, a free-skate ice skating rink, and many more surprises being run by volunteers from multiple businesses and community organizations. Saturday’s festivities end with a bang at 7:30pm with an ice themed Firework show. The festival rounds out on Sunday with the Great Lakes Pond Hockey championship games and a Craft Fair at Barkers Island Inn.
Businesses around Superior and Douglas County are also getting into the festival spirit! To help alleviate parking down on the island The Superior Business Improvement District is sponsoring a Trolley with stops at two downtown businesses, Vintage Italian Pizza and Belknap Lounge. While on the island, a hay-bail shuttle will be available to bring festival goers around to different attractions. Senior Connections is volunteering a shuttle and driver to help make the island accessible for all. Multiple businesses are also getting involved by offering Ice Specials. Specials include hotel discounts for travelers planning to stay over the weekend, to restaurant and shopping deals.
The Lake Superior Ice Festival asks everyone to come and answer one simple question – If we are in a region that experiences winter nearly half of the year, why not celebrate it? We invite you to come and do just that this January 26-28th at Barkers Island in Superior.
To learn more about the Lake Superior Ice Festival and all of the great events taking place, please go to the website at lakesuperioricefestival.com .