WORTHINGTON — With temperatures falling way below zero, one may be tempted to stay indoors all winter long until signs of spring start sprouting up.
Since it will likely be a long time for the first green blade of grass to show, the newly formed Worthington Winterfest committee is urging citizens to brave the cold, put on a winter coat or two and go check out Winterfest’s annual events scheduled for Jan. 17 - 18.
“This year we’re doing things a little different by making the opening ceremony to Winterfest bigger,” explained Ashley Goettig, Winterfest committee member. “We’re having a big celebration at the Hickory Lodge on Friday – Jan. 17 – starting with the newly added chili cook-off, as well as the crowning of the snow queen.”
Registration is still available for the cook-off. A maximum of 20 teams will be accepted, and entries will be taken up to Jan. 15.
Each team must prepare a minimum of three gallons of chili, and it will be judged on aroma, color, consistency, taste and aftertaste.
The entry fee is free with receipts of chili supply purchases from a designated store. Each registrant will be assigned to Hy-Vee or Fareway to purchase their chili supplies.
“There will be two separate contests for the cook-off. First, there will be a celebrity judge to taste each chili entry – the winner will receive $100.00 gift cards to Hy-Vee and Fareway,” Goettig said. “The second will be a people’s choice award, where the public gets to taste the chili entries and vote for their favorite. A surprise award will be given to the winner.”
Entries for the Winterfest snow queen are still being taken.
Candidates must be a sophomore or junior in high school. Duties for the snow queen will be to represent Worthington in the King Turkey Day parade, and the Holiday parade, along with other public events throughout the year.
Saturday, Jan. 18, is also jam-packed with Winterfest events. The pond hockey tournament is back by popular demand for its second year, as well as the sixth annual two-mile Winterfest Heart Walk.
“It’s just a great time for friends and family to get outside and enjoy the weather,” said Andy Johnson, co-chair of the Winterfest Committee. “This is the part of the country we live in, and we should celebrate the Midwest and being outdoors because that’s what we’ve grown up doing.”
The two-mile walk begins and ends at the Worthington YMCA, 1501 Collegeway, and participants will be able to use the indoor track if the weather gets too chilly.
Also scheduled for Jan. 18 is the South West Minnesota ice fishing tournament, followed by the deep freeze dip. A warming party will be held at the Hickory Lodge, 2015 N Humiston Avenue.
Registration deadline for all events – except the pond hockey tournament, which is Jan. 15 – will be on Friday, Jan. 17, at the opening ceremony.