The smell of popcorn hangs heavy in the January air and the quiet of winter is interrupted by jolts of laughter.
In January, Edina’s Winter Ice Festival at Centennial Lakes Park will celebrate 27 years. This event makes winter fun with ice sculptures, horse-drawn carriages, popcorn, hot chocolate, ice-skating and community connections.
“It’s a fun event for families,” says assistant park manager Laura Knollmaier. “People are just so excited to be outside.” Despite chilly temperatures, the Ice Festival is just as bustling as events held at the park over the summer months. “People come year after year for it,” Knollmaier says.
Perhaps the biggest draw is the ice-skating. From young to old, advanced to beginner, anyone can try their hand (or feet) at skating along the scenic banks of beautiful Centennial Lakes pond. “We have all sizes of ice skates,” Knollmaier says. “From [children’s] size eight to men’s 15.” Norwegian ice sleds are also available for smaller children or beginners still finding their balance.
If event goers need a break from skating they can huddle up next to a fire, munch on some treats from the concession stand and watch local artist Roger Rust create a masterpiece out of ice. Over the years, sculptures of fish, horses, light posts and Dr. Seuss characters have come alive in sparkling ice blocks.
This free event (with skate rental available) is all about community. “Everyone’s cheerful, everyone’s got red, rosy cheeks,” Knollmaier says. “It’s a fun way to celebrate winter in the middle of all this cold.”
- Winter Ice Festival Sunday, January 14 1-5 p.m.