Even with the cold weather, the ninth annual Freeze Fest will go on.

The event, hosted by Tomah Rotary Club and Tomah Parks and Recreation Department, is held during the first weekend of February every year.

The purpose of the event is to engage people in the community during the winter, said Parks and Recreation director Joe Protz.

“It’s just something to maybe get people excited about getting through the winter,” Protz said. “Mainly it’s just trying to get people out and about and enjoying our community in the wintry lull after the holiday season ... and the wait for spring to come.”

For the ninth year, there has been significant community support, Protz said. He said events are scheduled Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Two new organizations − the Tomah Public Library and Kupper Ratsch Senior Center − got involved, Protz said.

The library has taken over the movie night, which was previously held during the Kids Zone on Saturday. On Thursday night at 6 p.m., the library will show The Secret Life of Pets. Doors will open at 5:45 p.m.

The Senior Center will conduct bingo and euchre games at the senior center Friday at 1 p.m. All participants need a $1 Freeze Fest button to participate. In addition to the button, euchre players will pay $2, and bingo players will purchase the desired number of bingo cards for 50 cents per card. A potluck will follow the conclusion of the games.

There are more indoor activities this year, Protz said.

“The (past) winters and weather haven’t been too nice to us,” he said.

Protz said another change this year was the decision not to hold the Medallion Hunt.

“The Rotary Club is taking a year off,” he said “They might bring it back or try something new next year, but this year they’re not doing the medallion hunt.”

It should be a fun year, Protz said. He hopes the weather will warm up enough to host the torchlight snowshoe and cross country skiing event on Friday.

“We have plenty of snow this year, but hopefully the cold weather holds off into Friday,” he said. “I know people got a lot of things going on with different activities, but if they’re not busy, come check out our events out this week ... It’s only $1 for a button, so even if you’re not going to do an event, just purchase a button and it goes to the Rotary Club fundraiser and for the community.”

Buttons can be purchased at the Tomah Area Chamber of Commerce building and at Tomah City Hall until Friday, then they will be at Winnebago Park and Recreation Park at the events on Friday and Saturday.

A contest is held for the Freeze Fest button design every year for students in the Tomah area.

Rebeckah Cleveland is the winner in the eight-and-under age category and was the overall winner. Her design is featured on the Freeze Fest button.

Norah Betcher won in the 9-12 age category, and Lucas Salzwedel won in the 13-17 age category.

For a list of Freeze Fest activities, visit https://tomahrotaryclub.org/page/freezefest.

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Meghan Flynn can be reached at meghan.flynn@lee.net.

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