By Alex Guerrero
Albert Lea’s annual winter festival, The Big Freeze, is in full swing and Holly Karsjens, Executive Director of the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau, wants people to experience it.
“Just giving the community a way to get out during the winter,” she said.
The Big Freeze also serves as a way to collect food for the community.
The event kicked off Monday with the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce sponsored Medallion Hunt. Also began the scavenger hunt, sponsored by Leach Law, and public skating at Hayek, Lakeview and Hawthorne parks. The rinks will be open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. until Friday, but will then remain open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Many other events take place on Saturdays.
Saturday morning will begin with a pancake breakfast from the Double O Tractor Club at 1623 W. Main St. The event, which runs from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., raises money for the Albert Lea Salvation Army. Breakfast is $8 and the event is open to the public. Children under 10 can eat for free.
If pancakes aren’t enough, First Presbyterian Church will be offering a hot chocolate and coffee drive-thru (while supplies last) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The drive-thru is sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of Albert Lea Youth Group.
You can also watch the 3-a-side Pond Hockey Tournament from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lakeview Park. Registration for the event is closed, but there will be a truckload of mini donuts on hand. The tournament is sponsored by TMJ Elite Fitness.
But if you prefer to exercise, Albert Lea Community Education sponsors a snowshoe and snow chi event at the Brookside Boathouse in Brookside Park. The event will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is a non-perishable food.
If you have already made an appointment, don’t forget that Elsa will be at the Whimzy from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The event is already sold out.
Anglers can take part in the Albert Lea Anglers event from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at City Beach. Minnows will be provided and everyone is welcome to participate. Prizes will be awarded to the biggest fish and there will be raffles. Bring your own portable ice shelter. The cost is $5/hole and the event is sponsored by the Home Federal Savings Bank.
And Lost in Austin will play at 112 on Broadway from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. to end the day.
“The Big Freeze is a lot of different organizations or companies [putting] on their own activities,” Karsjens said. “It’s really just a compilation of the community activities that are happening during the day.”
There will be no Blue Ice Plunge, but Karsjens hopes the event will return next year.