Meet and greet Siberian huskies, tube down a 40-foot sled hill, or plow through the snow on snowshoes during the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s inaugural “Snow Day Festival” on January 20, at Plum Creek Nature Center. The free fest will be held with or without snow. (Photo by Glenn Knoblock, Forest Preserve staff)
Grab those mittens, a fuzzy hat and some boots, and head to the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s inaugural “Snow Day Festival” on Saturday, January 20.
The free fest is scheduled from noon – 4 p.m. at Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township. The event is part of World Snow Day weekend and will include many family-friendly winter-related activities.
“We hope the event feels like a blizzardy snow day, when schools get closed, life slows down, and we get to enjoy winter and nature,” said Diane Carson, facility supervisor at Plum Creek.
The fest is replacing the Forest Preserve’s “Musher Mania,” which was held annually in January at Monee Reservoir. This year, when the district’s winter activity hub moved from Monee Reservoir to Plum Creek to take advantage of Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve’s sled hill, the heated nature center and a bigger parking area, it made sense to move the winter fest there, too, Carson explained.
“The event still features the Siberian huskies and winter-themed activities,” she said. “So, we kept the best of ‘Musher Mania’ and added it to the best that Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve has to offer in winter.”
During the “Snow Day Festival,” meet and greet snow dogs – courtesy of the Siberian Husky Club of Greater Chicago, sled down a 40-foot hill, or try snowshoeing. Sled tubes and snowshoes, which normally are available for rental at Plum Creek, will be free of charge during the event.
Also, attendees can watch the ice chips fly as Reynaldo Clemente sinks a chainsaw into blocks of ice during an ice sculpting demonstration.
To warm up, fest-goers can step inside the nature center to view the winter-themed Disney movie, “Snow Buddies.” The nature center also will feature exhibits, including the nature and barn photography of Don Sala, plus information on the history of mushing. Arts and crafts activities include snow nature art, snow bowling, snow sculpting with marshmallows, and a huskie hustle sponsored by Cabela’s.
Attendees who want to warm up outside, can visit a campfire and snack on s’mores. Additional food will be available for purchase, including chili, hot dogs, popcorn, apple fritters, and hot chocolate.
Photos may be taken with the huskies for an $8 fee. Also, a husky adoption group will be on site with information about the breed and adoption applications for available dogs.
The fest will be held with or without snow. If Mother Nature fails to cooperate, attendees still will be able to view the exhibits, participate in craft activities, pet a snow dog, and hike the many trails in Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve.
Free travel mugs will be given to the first 200 visitors.
For more information on Forest Preserve District of Will County programs and events, visit ReconnectWithNature.org.