IF YOU GO
What: Perrysburg Winterfest 2018; Winterfest BG Chillabration
Where: Downtown Perrysburg and Bowling Green
When: Perrysburg: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; Bowling Green: All day Friday through Sunday.
Admission: Free for both festivals. Additional $49 for Perrysburg’s Rock the Blocks benefit from 7-10 p.m. Saturday.
The Winter Queen, played by Laurel Lovitt of Laurel's Princess Party, center, greets children at the Perrysburg Winterfest in 2015.
Some people will satisfy their sweet tooth with a chocolate crawl in downtown Bowling Green this weekend.
Others will enjoy ice carving demonstrations and s’mores in downtown Perrysburg.
Both northwest Ohio cities will host their annual Winterfest gatherings all weekend long, luring revelers to celebrate the joys of a season known for more than just big chills.
“This year we made [our event] interactive instead of just ice carving,” said Shannon Benge, event chair and Downtown Perrysburg Inc. board member. “We want it to be winter fun.”
This weekend marks the eighth year Downtown Perrysburg Inc. has hosted its Winterfest, and Benge said people can expect to see additions that go beyond the annual ice carving events for which the festival has been known.
Buckeye Broadband will broadcast the Winter Olympics, while fire pits with s’mores stations will be available at the Commodore station on Friday. The Perry’s Landing grass area will host ice demonstrations and games, while tents set up on Louisiana and Second streets will showcase live music, steel welding, craft stations, floor curling by the Black Swamp Curling Center from Bowling Green, and a fashion show from downtown Perrysburg retail stores.
“We have so much going on,” Benge said, adding that last year organizers contended with warmer than usual weather that made the ice carving demonstrations difficult. “We just wanted to make sure we had stuff [for people to do] no matter what the weather was going to be.”
Winterfest BG Chillabration in Bowling Green bills itself as “the coolest weekend of the year.” Chillabration features an ice garden and mascot carving demos of Bowling Green State University’s Frieda and Freddie Falcon as part of the 10th annual Winterfest.
But the entertainment doesn’t stop, with chainsaws tearing through large chunks of ice. Visitors can enjoy everything from a chili and soup cook-off to youth dodgeball games.
The weekend starts Friday with a Bowling Green High School Art Show at Four Corners Center from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a youth dodgeball game at 3:45 p.m. at the Bowling Green Community Center. There will also be a downtown chocolate crawl, with 16 downtown merchants offering various specials.
On Saturday, visitors will encounter a Frozen Swamp Tent serving as a downtown market throughout the day, followed by live music and beer and wine at night at South Main and Clough streets.
Wendy Chambers, chairman of the BG Chillabration and director of the Bowling Green Convention Visitor’s Center, said this year’s festival will bring people to tents set up in Bowling Green parking lots from the Wood County Library to as far as the Black Swamp Curling Center at 19901 N. Dixie Hwy.
“There’s all different other events all over the community,” she said. “It’s a community-wide event.”
The three-day festival will also include horse-drawn carriage rides, trivia games, and the Frostbite Fun Run, a 1-mile race at Bowling Green City Park. The Slater Family Ice Arena will host Bobcat hockey and public skating, and the Black Swamp Curling Center will offer “Learn To Curl” workshops.
There will also be a scavenger hunt hosted at the Wood County District Public Library.
“We want to encourage people to come downtown and shop in stores and enjoy Bowling Green,” Chambers said. “That’s the idea of the whole event.”
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