The Tomah Parks and Recreation Department and Tomah Rotary Club are partnering for the fourth year in a row to try to get Tomah residents out of the house Jan. 31.
“We want to get people out during the winter time (and) combat the winter blues,” said Tomah Parks and Recreation director Joe Protz.
The two groups will hold the fourth annual Freeze Fest, a winter festival spread throughout Tomah, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
“We have something for everyone this year, from kids to adults to teenagers,” Protz said.
Most events are available with a Freeze Fest button, which costs $1.
“It starts off with the big medallion hunt Monday,” Protz said.
Ten local businesses will hand out clues, with two giving out a clue each day. Participants can visit tomahrotary.org for the two businesses with clues.
“If you can’t get to the businesses during the day, you can always stop at the website that night or the next day for all the clues,” Protz said.
The winner of the medallion hunt will win $250 and a Freeze Fest t-shirt. The winner must also have a Freeze Fest button.
Organizers, including Rotarian Robert Bollig, brought back the Torchlight Run/Walk and “Swish Across the Lake” snow shoe and cross country ski event at 5 p.m. in Winnebago Park.
“It looks like we’ll have snow, which is a plus,” Bollig said.
With a Freeze Fest button, participants can run or walk a torchlight course, then warm up with hot cocoa and s’mores in the Winnebago Park shelter before letting go sky lanterns.
“They’re amazing. You light them off and let them float into the sky. It’s a wonderful image,” Bollig said.
The festival will also feature the Ace Kid’s Ice Fishing Derby and a snow sculpture contest from 9 to 11 a.m. Feb. 1 at the Winnebago Park Lagoon.
“It’ll be fun. You can build a snowman and decorate it,” Bollig said.
Both events are free with a button, and organizers will provide free coffee and hot cocoa to both participants and spectators.
“We have the skate party and kids carnival back this year,” Protz said.
The Tomah Boys & Girls Club and Tomah High School Interact Club will host an open ice skating and carnival event at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at the multi-purpose building in Recreation Park.
“One of the best things about that is that it’s really fun for all ages of kids,” Bollig said.
The annual euchre tournament will be at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 1 at the Recreation Park Gold Building.
“It’s a fun day inside playing cards out in the community,” Protz said.
There is a $5 fee and a cash payout for the winner. Refreshments will be available.
Several of the festival’s sponsors have stepped up participation.
“We have some specials running at area businesses,” Protz said.
The Strike Zone bowling alley is offering a free shoe rental for those with the button, and Flying Wheels Roller Rink in Oakdale is offering half-off entry from 7 to 10 p.m. Jan. 31.
The festival ends with the Bean Bag Bash and live music at 6:30 p.m. at the Recreation Park Gold Building. The bean bag tournament has a fee of $20 per team and has a cash prize.
There will also be live music by Duckhead’s & Friends, a band that specializes in classic rock.
“We had them last year, and they did a great job,” Bollig said.
Protz hopes to entice residents out for a nice community event.
“We’re always hoping for more people,” Protz said.
Last year’s Freeze Fest suffered from a frozen Friday night.
“Weather always plays a big part of it,” Protz said.
Buttons are available at All American Do-It Center, Brenengen Auto, Carlson Advisors, CliftonLarsonAllen, F&M Bank, First Choice Realty, Ground Round, State Farm Insurance, Strike Zone, TACU Credit Union, Timberwood Bank and Tomah Area School District.
“It’s cheap and it will be fun for everybody,” Bollig said.