Bloomington’s annual celebration of winter begins this weekend, and for those who aren’t excited about celebrating layers of clothing and warm gloves, there are new enticements that won’t require multiple thermal underwear.

The city’s Winter Fete celebration begins 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, with an indoor activity emulating a winter pastime that is growing in popularity. Creekside Community Center, 9801 Penn Ave., will host indoor curling, a simulation of the game commonly played on ice.

The community center will also host a screening of “Toy Story 4” at 6 p.m., with snacks provided. Children are welcome to wear their pajamas and bring a blanket.

The celebration heads outdoors at 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. Bush Lake Beach, 9140 E. Bush Lake Road, will host ice fishing and snowshoeing.

The ice fishing demonstration will include discussion of ice fishing equipment, with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fishing experts providing equipment and instruction for those who want to try ice fishing.

The city’s Parks and Recreation department will lead guided snowshoe walks about the lake and surrounding park. Snowshoes will be available for those who do not have their own, and refreshments will be provided.

Indoor recreation on ice will be offered at Bloomington Ice Garden, 3600 W. 98th St., from 2-3:30 p.m.

Admission for open skating will be reduced to $2 for adults and $1 for children, with free rental skates available.

The annual ski jumping competition will also be hosted on Sunday, from 5-10 p.m., at the Bush Lake Ski Jump, 8401 E. Bush Lake Road.

Athletes from Europe, Canada and the United States will compete, including former and future Olympians. The competition is part of the Midwestern Five Hills Tour, part of the U.S. Cup series. Skiers will soar up to 300 feet for trophies and cash prizes. Gates open at 4 p.m. General admission tickets are $10, and children 12 and younger are admitted free of charge.

Tickets and information are available online at

Hyland Lake Park, 10145 Bush Lake Road, will offer two-for-one cross country ski rental during both weekends of Winter Fete, and three-for-one rental from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 20-24 with a coupon available through the city’s website.

For those who need an excuse to get outdoors, Winter Fete is adding a medallion hunt. Clues to the medallion will be posted each morning on the city’s website and shared through its e-subscribe service, beginning Jan. 18. Clues will lead to a location at or near one of the city’s 13 ice rinks and will be posted daily until the medallion is found. In lieu of a medallion, the hidden object is a jar with a note inside, detailing how to claim the medallion hunt prize package.

Free hot chocolate will be available daily throughout Winter Fete at four park warming houses––Bryant, Running, Sunrise Park and Westwood.

Winter Fete will conclude the following weekend with nods to winter history, including the Ice Harvest Festival at Richardson Nature Center and the Pond Dakota Winter History Festival at Pond-Dakota Mission Park. Details will be available in next week’s Sun Current and are online at the city’s website,

Follow Bloomington community editor Mike Hanks on Twitter at @suncurrent and on Facebook at suncurrentcentral.

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