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'We always find a way to make it work'

Alex Doty • Jan 24, 2018 at 10:00 AM

Winterfest is this week, but the snowpack we’d accumulated over the past two months seems to have missed the memo.

Even with the lack of snow, organizers of the annual event — which runs Thursday through Sunday — aren’t concerned.

“Cold, warm, whatever — we have enough snow,” said Kevin Galbavi, Winterfest organizer. “We always find a way to make it work.”

Galbavi said this year’s weather and the upcoming forecast reminds him a lot of the 2017 Winterfest, when the weather was also not very winter-like.

“We’ll haul nine dump trucks worth of snow in for Friday,” he said. “We always make it happen. We don’t cancel.”

In addition to hauling in and making snow for the events, Galbavi noted that they can also relocate activities to better locations, if needed.

Given the winter we’ve already had, there’s a lot of community enthusiasm for Winterfest 2018, according to Galbavi.

“There’s tons of chatter going on about it,” he said. “Our new events are getting great, positive feedback.”

New events for Winterfest 2018 include a Downtown Poker Crawl on Friday night, where participants can buy cards at downtown Grand Haven pubs and bars. By visiting three locations, participants can work to build the best poker hand, and a winner will be announced.

The other new event is an ice cream eating contest, which takes place during the Bonfire Bash on Saturday. For $10, participants can enter to try eating ice cream as fast as they can without using their hands. Registration for the contest begins at 3:30 p.m., with the competition starting at 4 p.m.

“The ice cream eating contest will be a lot of fun,” Galbavi said.

Also different this year is the route for the family-friendly pajama run. The Sleepwalker 0.62 and Sleepwalker 2.62 on Saturday evening will be run on the snowmelt sidewalks.

The Reimagine Project is the primary beneficiary of this year’s Winterfest. The goal of the campaign is to raise $500,000 to build a new, inclusive play space in the current location of the Imagination Station at Mulligan’s Hollow.

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