The Lake Superior Ice Festival will take place in 2021

Fire+twirlers+from+Sterling+Silver+Studio+providing+entertainment+to+festival+goers+on+January+24%2C+2020.

Traxx Nelson-Kavajecz

Fire twirlers from Sterling Silver Studio providing entertainment to festival goers on January 24, 2020.

By Traxx Nelson-Kavajecz

Although the 2021 Lake Superior Ice Festival will look different from previous years, the Ice Festival committee will carry on the annual event as scheduled at Barkers Island from Jan. 29 through Jan. 30.

The goal is to host the festival in a safe manner by following the CDC and the health department guidelines during every event that takes place over the weekend.

It is also important to have a positive and fun outlook on this event. Carolyn Nelson is a member of the Ice Festival committee, specializing in the Kids’ Zone as well as helping out with concessions and entertainment. She has been involved in the Lake Superior Ice Festival for four years.

“As a committee, we felt it was important to still offer the Ice Festival events to give people a little bit of normalcy in a time when many things have been changed or canceled altogether. But due to Covid-19 and the CDC guidelines we have to do things a little bit differently this year,” Nelson said.

One challenging aspect of holding events during the pandemic is generating enough funds and sponsorship to make it happen. According to Linda Cododtte, director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Superior and the chair of the Ice Festival committee, that has not entirely been the case for the festival. 

“Most of our partner organizations have stepped up and wanted to continue to help with the planning efforts. The Superior oil refinery has come on as a title sponsor this year and has donated 10,000 dollars to the festival,” Cododtte said.

The event will start Friday, Jan. 29, with activities for kids and families such as the half-pipe snow slide. This is a large sledding hill, created by the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Superior. The city collected trucks full of snow and piled it up by Highway 2, right across the street from Fairlawn Mansion. The hill will be open through Sunday, Jan. 31. Kids can bring their own sleds and slide down the gigantic snow hill. Families are also encouraged to walk across the street to Fairlawn Mansion to build snowmen and other snow sculptures on the lawn. The mansion will be providing colored spray bottles for people to decorate their creations. 

The Orb 365 Community Arts Collaboration, a project that encourages people to waste less water and create less pollution, will also take place on Friday and Saturday. People create an ice orb and make a pledge to keep our lakes clean. 

To prevent the spread of COVID, the Ice Festival will not have enclosed heated tents for festival-goers to enjoy drinks, food, entertainment, and live music. 

Bella Olsen, a sophomore, has volunteered for the last three years at the Ice Festival. She has served as one of the cast members who dressed up as ice princesses for children to visit with. 

“We are still trying to figure out how we are going to go about being dressed as characters on the island because the little kids get really excited to see us and want to run up and give us hugs,” Olsen said.

The Midwest Ice Racing Association known as MIRA will be hosting ice racing right next to the S.S Meteor at Barker’s Island on Saturday. The races will begin at ten in the morning and will conclude with an award ceremony later in the afternoon. Racing will include ATVs and motorcycles. It is a family-friendly event and MIRA strongly encourages beginner racers to try it out.

Other things that people can enjoy on Saturday at the island are Ice Sculptures, snowshoeing, KUBB tournaments, Sterling Silver Studio Fire Twirlers, princesses and other characters, food and beverage vendors, and much more. 

“For a complete list of events, and for up to minute information visit lakesuperioricefestival.com or go to the Facebook page, @lakesuperioricefestival,” Cododtte said.