Lake Chelan’s Winterfest pays homage to snow, ice

You might think of Lake Chelan as just a summer destination.

But the city’s winter celebration could change that.

Lake Chelan Winterfest runs for two weekends, Jan 11 to 13 and Jan. 18 to 20 with food and drink, music, outdoor fun and family time. And, of course, snow.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to get out of the wet side of the state and discover Lake Chelan in the winter. It’s such a different experience,” said Erin McCardle, the festival’s coordinator.

“As soon as you cross those mountains and see that everything is beautiful and white, you take a big sigh.”

There’s an ice lounge with live music, cooking competitions featuring local restaurants, outdoor activities like Snowga, which is a mix between snowshoeing and yoga, and ice-sculpting competitions.

The festival’s headline event is the wine walk, a tour of tastings along E. Woodin Avenue and Emerson Street with wines from 19 wineries.

It runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Jan. 18 and 3 to 7 p.m. Jan. 19. Tickets are $30 for one day or $50 for two days.

There’s also a VIP option for Jan. 19. You can tour with smaller groups, have earlier start times, and the winemakers will be on hand. VIP tickets are $50.

Prefer beer to wine? There’s an ale-tasting event from 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 11 and 12. Tickets are $20 for one day or $30 for both days online. It’s $5 extra at the door.

Activities for kids include St. Andrew Episcopal Church’s “Snowflake Lane,” a place for kids to enjoy face painting, crafts, movies and hot chocolate. It’s from 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 18 and from noon to 5 p.m. Jan. 19.

And the ice sculpture tour is a good time for the whole family.

The festival’s lead ice sculptor, Steve Cox, and his team at Creative Ice will be carving 16 ice sculptures, placed throughout Chelan for you to find.

And it’ll be worth the hunt.

Ice sculptors use 300-pound blocks to carve their pieces, and they’re going multiblock at Winterfest.

“It’s really grown since I started,” said Cox, who has been a part of Winterfest for 10 years. “When we came the first time, everything was single block. We’ve really stepped it up.”

This year, Creative Ice will use 150 blocks of ice for their sculptures, including a 35- to 40-block functional ice slide and 20- to 25-block bar for the ice lounge.

You’ll need a Winterfest button for some activities, but with it you’ll receive discounts at local businesses.

Show your button and receive 15 percent off orders at The Apple Cup Cafe, free tastings and $10 off wine purchases at Cairdeas Winery, and 20 percent off all Patagonia products at Lake Chelan Sports among other discounts.

Buttons are $5 each or $18 for four at Winterfest Headquarters in the park room at Campbell’s Resort, 104 W. Woodin Ave.

There are specials on lodging in Chelan during Winterfest — some rooms as low as $69 per night — at www.lakechelan.com/visit/special-offers.

For more information and a full list of activities, go to www.lakechelanwinterfest.com.

Winterfest

Jan. 11 to 13 and 18 to 20; www.lakechelanwinterfest.com.

“Winter warrior” events that require registration:

Jan. 12: Lake Chelan Rotary Echo Ridge Loppet, 8 a.m. A 26-mile, noncompetitive ski tour. Tickets $40 to $60. Register online at tinyurl.com/EchoRidgeLoppet.

Jan. 12 and 20: Snowga, 10 a.m. A 30-minute yoga session followed by a guided snowshoe trek with stops for yoga poses along the way. Tickets $43.25. Register online at yogachelan.com/snowga_345.html.

Jan. 13: Snowshoe Run at Echo Ridge Snowshoe Trails, 10 a.m. 5K and 10K snowshoe run for all ages. Tickets $35 for 5K race, $40 for 10K race before Jan. 6 at tinyurl.com/EchoRidgeSnowshoe. Prices increase $5 after Jan. 6, and $10 the day of the race.

Jan. 13: Frosty Fun Run, 11 a.m. Tickets $15 by Jan. 11 at lakechelan.ticketleap.com/funrun/ or $20 day-of-event.

Jan. 19: Polar Bear Plunge, 7:45 p.m. Take a dip in the chilly Lake Chelan waters then sit by the bonfire for a fireworks show. Download the waiver at tinyurl.com/WinterfestPlunge.

For a full printable Winterfest schedule, go to tinyurl.com/WinterfestSchedule2013.

Ashley Stewart: 425-339-3037; astewart@heraldnet.com.

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