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U of O Winter games kick off today

OKOBOJI, Iowa -- A luauthemed cure for the winter blahs can be found this weekend at the 30th annual University of Okoboji Winter Games in the Iowa Great Lakes.

"With the weather we've had a lot of people who have cabin fever; we've had a great response," said Jen Johnson, program director at the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. This year, the games attracted 24 teams for the flag football competition -- 20 is typical -- and a record 44 vendors for the RE/MAX Spirit Lake and the Okobojis Chili Cook-Off.

"We also have new events that are super fun like the bean bag toss, and KAPKO indoor golf tournament," she added. Other indoor activities, including a number of card game tournaments, are scheduled for those not as fond of frigid temperatures.

"Our logo this year is a Hawaiian theme," Johnson explained. "All of the games and clothing have a tropical feel to it."

On Saturday, the third annual ArtsLIVE Eco-Art People Project will use volunteers to form the shape of a cardinal on the ice near Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. People have created other animals in years past, Johnson said.

"We try to do something that's indigenous to the Lakes area," she added. Here's a closer look at some of the festivities:


8 a.m. to 10 p.m. KAPCO Two-Person Best Shot Tournament, continues Saturday. 9 a.m. Olde Town Spirit Lake Indoor Mini-Golf Tournament, downtown Spirit Lake businesses, continues Saturday.

10 a.m. Quilting retreat, Camp Foster.

11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Bridge party, St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. RE/MAX Spirit Lake and the Okobojis Chili Cook-Off, Dickinson County Expo Building.

8 p.m. Rock the Roof Beach Party featuring BB & the Bullfrogs and Sean Benz, Dickinson County Expo Building.

9:30 p.m. Tim Horsman, Ruebins; The Kelly Quinn Band, The Gardens, continues Saturday. 10:30 p.m. "Create Your Own Swimsuit Contest," The Gardens.


7 to 11 a.m. Pancake and sausage breakfast, Okoboji Middle School. 8 a.m. Broomball Tournament and Softball Tournament, Smith's Bay; Flag Football, Mau Marine. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Okoboji Summer Theatre Association Omelet Brunch, Arnolds Park Pavilion. 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. U of O Cribbage Classic, Okoboji Middle School. 9 a.m. to noon: Pinochle tournament and 500 card tournament, Spirit Lake Senior Center. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. U of O Co-Ed Volleyball Tournament, Spirit Lake high school and middle school gymnasiums. 9:30 a.m. U of O Chess Open, Arrowwood Resort. 9:30 to 3:30 Boji Blizzard Mini and Mighty Mite Hockey Jamboree, Smith's Bay. 10 a.m. Freeze Your Fanny Bike Ride, Okoboji Expedition Co. 10 a.m. to noon: Cooking with Donna, Innkeeper at Okoboji Country Inn, Annabelle's Tea Room. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Display: 30 Years of Winter Games, Maritime Museum; Snowmobile Fun Run, Okoboji Boat Works. 10:30 a.m. Snowball Drop, uptown Spirit Lake. 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Little Sioux OHV/ATV Ice Challenge, The Ritz. 11 a.m. ArtsLIVE Eco-Art People Project, Iowa Lakeside Laboratory; U of O Texas Hold 'Em Tournament, Village West Resort.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nature Center Soup Fest and family fun programs, Arnolds Park City Hall.

11:30 a.m. Red Hat Luncheon, The Inn At Okoboji.

12:00 p.m. Powder Puff Broomball, Smith's Bay; Tim Horseman, Okoboji Boat Works tent.

1 p.m. Northwest Iowa Football Club Bean Bag Toss Tournament, Smith's Bay.

1 to 3 p.m. Chocolate/Sweet Classic Sponsored, Arrowwood Resort, Wimbledon Event Hall.

1:30 p.m. Lakes Regional Healthcare U of O Road Race 5K/10K, Spirit Lake Middle School. 2 to 4 p.m. BINGO, Arnolds Park Pavilion. 2 p.m. Okoboji Summer Theatre 2010 Schedule, Okoboji Spirit Center. 3 p.m. Polar Bear Plunge, Railroad Trestle Bridge. 5 to 6:30 p.m. U of O Phantoms Luau, Arnolds Park Pavilion. 6 to 10 p.m. Mighty Nish Band, Okoboji Boat Works. 6:30 p.m. 2009 Winter Games Extravaganza, Preservation Plaza, with National Guard Tribute, awards ceremony, fireworks.


9 a.m. Broomball Tournament, Smith's Bay. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Waffles by Dad, Spirit Lake Senior Center. 10:30 to 2 p.m. Snowmobile Radar Run, Parks Marina/Barefoot Bar. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. U of O Co-Ed Volleyball Tournament, Spirit Lake high school and middle school gymnasiums.

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Family fun at the Tube Hill, Horseshoe Bend.

Noon to 4 p.m. Tour of Homes Poker Run, Boji Splash at Bridges Bay.

1 p.m. Snowshoe hike for the family, Horseshoe Bend.

1 to 4 p.m. Mah Jongg Tournament, Emerald Hills Golf Club.

2 p.m. Head to Head Grudge Match Race, Parks Marina/Barefoot Bar.

2 p.m. Dodgeball tournament, Bedell Family YMCA.

2 p.m. Winter Follies Talent Show, Pearson Lakes Art Center.

For a full schedule of events, including information about registration and Winter Games Winter Wear visit or contact the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce at 800-839-9987.