If you're like me, you were thinking this winter was going to be like last winter, until the lake-effect snow machine turned on Sunday and didn't stop until late Wednesday, providing the outdoor Winterfest activities with plenty of base.
All of the individual events of Winterfest are worthy of their own entry in our Top 5, but I'm going to group them together so you have some options, and to promote a few of the other things going on around here this weekend, Jan. 25-27.
(1) Winterfest — Dating back to the 1970s, this celebration of winter seems to get more popular every year. It kicked off Thursday with the Glow Bowl at Mulligan's Hollow. Friday's events include the art reception (6:30-8 p.m. at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum, 200 Washington Ave.) and Intergalactic Human Sled Race (registration at 7 p.m. and the races begin at 8 p.m., also downtown). The Family Dog Pull (registration at 9 a.m. and races from 9:30-11 a.m.) heads off Saturday's fun at Mulligan's Hollow. That's followed by the crowning event, the Cardboard Sled Race down the Ski Bowl hill (registration at 10 a.m., sled judging at 10:30 and races beginning at 11). Kids Day is at the Tri-Cities Family YMCA this year, and begins earlier (doors open at noon). The Race of Kings for hamsters and gerbils is also at the Y (registration at 1 p.m. and races begin at 2). Parking at Mulligan's Hollow is difficult at best, so park downtown and catch the Harbor Transit shuttle between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. for $1 per person. On Saturday night, the heated tent for the Winterfest Luau Extravaganza opens at 7, with Sons of Beaches performing from 8 to midnight. You must be age 21 or older with valid ID to enter, and a Winterfest Pass is required (available at the door). On Sunday, both the snowboard and ski races at the Ski Bowl and the Polar Plunge off the docks at Chinook Pier happen from 1-3 p.m. The Snow Angel Contest (lots of snow for it this year!) is at Grand Haven's Central Park at 3 p.m., with registration beginning at 2:30. Click here for the official Winterfest website.
(2) Sweet Justice — 7-11 p.m. Friday at VFW Post 2326, 20 N. First St., Grand Haven. The public is welcome to get a jumpstart on Saturday night's Winterfest Luau with this band of local law enforcement officers.
(3) Bard on the Run: "Twelfth Night" — 7:30 p.m. Friday at Seven Steps Up, 116 S. Jackson St., Spring Lake. Grand Haven's Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company will present the rehearsal processes of Shakespeare’s time period. "Twelfth Night" follows the adventures of Viola, a young noblewoman who is separated from her twin brother, Sebastian, during a shipwreck. Tickets are $6 to $12.
(4) Music by the Fireplace — 3-4 p.m. Sunday at Spring Lake District Library, 123 E. Exchange St. The Grand Valley State University Faculty Winds Quintet will perform. Admission is free.
(5) Hope College Young Artists Piano Competition — 1-5 p.m. Saturday at Dimnent Memorial Chapel, 277 College Ave. at 12th Street, Holland. The winners will be announced at 6 p.m., with a small reception following. Admission is free. Audience members may stay for all or just part of the competition. These are the finalists among talented high school pianists ages 13-18 from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.
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