8 Winter Festivals to Chase the Cold-Weather Blues Away
Frozen Dead Guy Days - March 7-9, 2014
Nederland, Colorado 1 of 9
Grandpa Bredo Morstoel, a Norwegian immigrant, died in 1989. His family, in hopes of bringing him back to life through low-temperature preservation, soaked his body in liquid nitrogen for four years, during which time he was kept in Nederland. Now, this winter festival is held to celebrate the finding of his body in 1994. Odd? Yes. Fun? A resounding yes. Over a period of three days, festival goers enjoy free live music, coffin racing, brain freeze competitions and a polar plunge, among other wacky things.
Saranac Lake Winter Carnival - January 31-February 9, 2014
Saranac Lake, New York 2 of 9
This event, which started as a one-day festival to chase the winter blues away, is now a 10-day celebration complete with a parade, fireworks and 60-foot ice palace. Saranac Lake Winter Carnival holds the title for longest-running event of its kind, and will celebrate 117 years in 2014. Families can go ice-skating and snow tubing, play snowshoe baseball, and watch cross-country ski races, broomball games and curling matches.
Burlington Winter Festival - February 1, 2014
Burlington, Vermont 3 of 9
The 21-year old winter festival brings a weekend of fun to this New England town. Start at the snow carving competition, and enjoy the lighting of Church Street, a winter bazaar and a winter dance party. If you really want to get in the spirit, sign up for the Penguin Plunge to raise money for Special Olympics. Don't forget to grab your "Ice Breaker" button to receive discounts at local stores and retailers all weekend long.
Polar Fest - February 7-16, 2014
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota 4 of 9
More than a week of unique activities and winter festival fun can be found at this small town in Minnesota. Pull your bathing suit out of storage and participate in the Polar Plunge, grab your pole for the ice-fishing derby, or lace up your sneakers for a snowy 5K fun run. Check out the professional snowmobile race, the Chocolate Chill event, and Polar Pancake and French Toast Feed, too. No matter where you go you'll enjoy free hot chocolate, prizes and lots of family fun.
Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival - February 5-9, 2014
Steamboat Springs, Colorado 5 of 9
This festival kicks off with the Lighted Man ceremony, in which one skier rides down the mountain with roman candles and rockets shooting from his costume. Meanwhile in town, shovels and skis are turned into competition gear; competitors use them to race down snowy hills.
Watch conventional winter competitions such as ski jumping and slalom races on the slopes just outside of town, and make sure you stay for the biathalon, where athletes dress in old-school fur trapper clothing and ski down the mountain shooting black powder muzzleloaders. Reserve the Grizzy Creek Guard Station cabin to get some rest after a long day.
Fire and Ice Winter Fest - February 7-9, 2014
Lava Hot Springs, Idaho 6 of 9
This small town, population 400, is home to freezing winter temperatures and natural hot springs that reach up to 112 degrees. The most unique event is the Running of the Bulls, where participants run down Main Street in their bathing suits, and end the run with a jump in the hot springs.
The rubber penguin race, free winter carnival and torch light parade are perfect for your little ones. Don't miss the craziest event—the Polar Bear Float, where costumed daredevils get into a tube and float down the freezing river. Prizes are awarded for best group and individual costumes.
Cedarburg Winter Festival - February 15-16, 2014
Cedarburg, Wisconsin 7 of 9
The Ice-Burg Open Golf Tournament is just one of the many reasons to reserve your spot at this winter festival. Each year follows a specific theme—2012 was Brother's Grimm—so be sure you know the theme before you pack up and head out. Find a spot to watch the annual beer barrel race, and don't forget to grab a drink at the outdoor snow bar afterward. If you just can't get enough of the winter weather, grab a walk-in spot at Harrington Beach State Park for a weekend of camping in the snow.
Fur Rendezvous - February 21-March 2, 2014
Anchorage, Alaska 8 of 9
If you've never been to this northwest state, now's the time to go. During the Fur Rendezvous, softball is played in snowshoes, furs are auctioned off and "Miss Rondy" is crowned. In downtown Anchorage, the streets are left unplowed for the Open World Championship Sled Dog Races and the Running of the Reindeer. Don't forget to participate in the team snowball fights and watch the ice-bowling tournament.