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Crosslake WinterFest celebrates the cold, snow with fun activities

The Crosslake Chamber of Commerce will host the Crosslake WinterFest from Feb. 3-5, including the SoupFest, fireworks display and outdoor activities such as snowmobile Radar Runs.

Snowmobiles parked on a frozen lake.
People park their snowmobiles on the ice during last year's Crosslake WinterFest Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 at Moonlite Bay Family Restaurant & Bar in Crosslake. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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CROSSLAKE — If you can’t beat winter, at least have fun with it.

The 19th annual Crosslake WinterFest will feature old favorites and new activities with a resumption of gatherings that were limited in size last year because of the pandemic.

“It evolves every year,” said Crosslake Chamber of Commerce Director Cindy Myogeto of Crosslake WinterFest. “New this year, there is a craft and vendor fair at a new event center called The Gathering, which is a new event center in Crosslake just south of town.”

The Crosslake Chamber of Commerce will host the celebration Feb. 3-5, including the ever-popular SoupFest, fireworks display and outdoor activities such as Radar Runs.

“This year, we’re back with everything,” Myogeto said. “Last year, we were at the mercy of some of the COVID restrictions as far as gatherings. Even though they were outdoors, they still had a limited number allowed.

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WinterFest will kick off when the first of three daily clues will be given at local merchants, on the Crosslake App and on the chamber website as to where to find the hidden WinterFest medallion for a prize basket courtesy of chamber member businesses valued at more than $2,300.

Outdoor activities Feb. 4 at the Crosslake Community Center will include ice rink and pond skating, sledding, cross-country skiing and a fireworks display with complimentary hot cocoa, cider, s'mores and hot chili to keep people warm and fed.

“That's really a fun event for families,” Myogeto said of the outdoor activities. “And then Saturday, the Crosslake firefighters’ pancake breakfast is back. That starts Saturday morning from 8 to 11:30.”

A full day of activities Feb. 5 will include kite flying, helicopter rides, shopping, food and drink specials all over town and SoupFest tasting, which will begin at noon; the latter involves free soup samples at local businesses, and people can vote for their favorite on the Crosslake App.

“Then there are helicopter rides at Moonlight Bay (restaurant) as well as snowmobile Radar Runs at Moonlight Bay. Those didn't take place last year but they will take place this year,” Myogeto said.

Purchase the 2022 WinterFest wristband for $5 to help support the event and save hundreds of dollars at the participating Crosslake merchants. Wristbands are available for purchase at the Crosslake Chamber of Commerce and at select chamber member businesses.

“There's bingo, meat raffles and all those kinds of things that take place at some point during the day,” Myogeto said. “And then, of course, every evening — both Friday night and Saturday night — there's a variety of live music or DJ music at the different establishments in Crosslake.”

This year, we’re back with everything.
— Cindy Myogeto

The warmest day forecast for Crosslake as of Wednesday, Jan. 16, will be the last day of the WinterFest, with a high in the teens, according to the 10-day weather forecast by Weather.com.

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“When we have a beautiful snowy year like this, it's just a bonus because we'll have so many people that are able to come into town,” Myogeto said. “Literally, you can do everything on this schedule from your snowmobile.”

Snowmobile activity in the area continues to be high and snowmobile trails are in good condition, according to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers.

“We're blessed to have that snowmobile trail run right through the middle of town … and it does bring a lot of folks into the community, so the WinterFest is a major economic boost for our businesses in February when typically our tourism numbers aren't very high,” Myogeto said.

WinterFest schedule

Thursday, Feb. 3

  • 9 a.m.: Find the hidden WinterFest medallion. The first of three daily clues will be released at local merchants, on the Crosslake app and at the Crosslake Chamber of Commerce page. Prize package courtesy of chamber member businesses valued at more than $2,300.
  • 9 a.m -5 p.m.: Get your $2 WinterFest raffle tickets for a chance to win a vintage sweatshirt at Common Goods.
  • 8 p.m.: Trivia at Moonlite Bay restaurant.

Friday, Feb. 4

  • 9 a.m.: Find the hidden WinterFest medallion. The second clue is revealed.
  • 9 a.m -4 p.m.: Get your $2 WinterFest raffle tickets for a chance to win a vintage sweatshirt at Common Goods. (Drawing at 4 p.m.)
  • Noon-5 p.m.: Sip and shop at Squirrelly Mama.
  • 3:45-6 p.m.: Crosslake Community School Cabin Fever Kickoff to 2022/2023 School Enrollment (Snowshoeing, treat walk, games and more.)
  • 7-9 p.m.: Crosslake Community Center outdoor activities, including ice rink and pond skating, snow mountain sledding, cross-country skiing, bonfire, and hot cocoa, cider and s'mores, and hot chili compliments of Moonlight Bay and Crosslake Lutheran Church, respectively.
  • 9 p.m.: Flashing Thunder fireworks choreographed to music with Premier Party Entertainment.
  • 7 p.m.: Live music featuring Emily Hammer at Manhattan's.
  • 8-11 p.m.: Live music featuring Mike Derus at Bourbon Room
  • 10 p.m.: Dance with DJs JP and Dana at Moonlite Bay.

Saturday, Feb. 5

  • 8 -11:30 a.m.: Crosslake Firefighters pancake breakfast at Crosslake Lutheran Church.
  • 9 a.m.: The third and final hidden WinterFest medallion clue will be released.
  • 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: WinterFest craft and vendor fair at The Gathering.
  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Open house and tours at Northern Minnesota Railroad Trackers.
  • 11 a.m.: Manhattan's bingo at Manhattan's.
  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Kids WinterFest souvenir tote decorating at Moonlite Bay.
  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Kids crafts and games at Squirrelly Mama.
  • 11 a.m.-dusk: Helicopter rides at Moonlite Bay.
  • 12 p.m.: SoupFest - Soup samples served at participating businesses throughout Crosslake. (Download the Crosslake App and vote for your favorite soup by 3 p.m.)
  • 12-2 p.m.: Italian Olympics at Maucieri's Italian Bistro.
  • 12-3 p.m.: Bonfire and s’mores, and hot chocolate at Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway.
  • 12-5 p.m.: Sip and shop at Squirrelly Mama.
  • 1-4 p.m.: Live music featuring Michael Miller at 14 Lakes Craft Brewing Co.
  • 1-4 p.m.: Snowmobile Radar Runs on the Bay at Moonlite Bay.
  • 2 p.m.: Mega meat raffle at Bourbon Room.
  • 2 p.m.: Live music featuring Shane Martin & Mike Derus at Manhattan's.
  • 2-4 p.m.: Kite flying at Crosslake Town Square. (Bring your own kite.)
  • 4:30- 6 p.m.: Seafood Raffle at Andy's Bar & Grill.
  • 5-8 p.m.: Live music featuring Kelly Peterson at Bourbon Room.
  • 6-9 p.m.: Live music featuring Lisa Wenger at Maucieri's Italian Bistro.
  • 7-10 p.m.: Live music featuring Mark Johnson & Strange Brew at Cedar Chest.
  • 8 p.m.: DJ Mike at The Wharf.
  • 10 p.m.-close: Dance with DJs JP and Dana at Moonlite Bay.

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL.

Related Topics: CROSSLAKECROSSLAKE WINTERFESTCROSSLAKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
I cover arts and entertainment, and write feature stories, for the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper. As a professional journalist with years of experience, I have won awards for my fact-based reporting. And my articles have also appeared in other publications, including USA Today. 📰
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