Anyone who may be looking for a way to fight off the winter doldrums now that the holiday season has passed, the Kickapoo Valley Reserve has a cure – the 18th annual Winter Festival.
Winter Festival will be held at the visitor center and grounds Saturday, Jan. 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and has the theme “Traditional Wisdom.”
“We will incorporate Ho-Chunk traditions,” said Jackie Yocum, Winter Festival coordinator.
An example of this is a traditional wisdom self-guided walk, which features 31 stations on the KVR grounds. Each station has an activity and a history lesson. In addition, there will be an ancient wild edibles talk with Sam Thayer in the visitor center from 11 a.m. to noon, followed by a hike on the grounds starting at 12:30 p.m.
Other new activities include a snow excavation site for children where they can find tiny treasures in the snow to take home with them and a blacksmithing demonstration by Robert Schulz (the creation will be raffled at the end of the day), a presentation by River Valley Raptors, “Falconry through the Ages” with live birds 10-11 a.m., and a drone talk and presentation of footage from noon to 1 p.m. Other old favorites include frozen turkey bowling, storytelling, horse-drawn bobsled or wagon rides and a community pictograph wall.
The La Farge Lions Club will once again host chili and bread contest sampling in the visitor center lobby from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Kickapoo Live Auction, which will be held in the visitor center lobby at 2:30 p.m. The auction is a fundraiser for the KVR Education Program.
Activities will also be offered at the town of Stark building and grounds. Some of the activities include Tri-State Alaskan Malamute Club sled dog and skijoring races from 10:30 a.m. to noon, an ice cave presentation at 10:30 a.m. followed by a hike at 11:30 a.m., traditional wisdom demonstrations of woodcarving, Hoocak basketry and rope making, and a new activity, the Dam-ski-daddle.
The race will be held on the town of Stark grounds noon-2 p.m. Participants must bring their own skis. Prizes will be given for the best costume. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.
A shuttle bus will run between the two festival locations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Concessions and warming fires will be available at both sites.
Winter Festival is free. Activities are subject to change due to weather conditions and availability. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Dogs on a leash are welcome, however, they are not allowed in buildings.
More detailed information about the festival can be found at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve’s website, kickapoovalley.wi.gov or by calling 608-625-2960. The KVR Visitor Center is located at S3661 Hwy. 131, La Farge and the town of Stark building is located on Corps Road, La Farge.