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Bundle up and enjoy Winterval activities downtown this Saturday

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 12:01 am

It's been a heck of a winter so far, hasn't it?

If you've parked yourself inside the last few weeks, it's time to bundle up and embrace these brisk winter days. On Saturday, the Downtown Improvement District and Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department have planned a day's worth of events designed to bring people out of their self-imposed hibernation.

Winterval is back with activities including ice sculptures, figure skating exhibitions, games, crafts and reduced admission at downtown attractions. It's a good way to get outside and enjoy the crisp winter air, and then duck inside one of several venues or restaurants when you want to warm up.

With all the cold weather and snow we've had, this should be a good year for the festival.

Ice carvings can be found in nine locations downtown, with two pre-sculpted ones at Freimann Square and Office One Solutions, 1021 S. Calhoun St.

Or you can watch professional carvers at 10 a.m. at the Grand Wayne Center, the Hilton and University of Saint Francis Performing Arts Center (the old Scottish Rite theater); at 11 a.m. at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory; at noon at the Allen County Public Library plaza; and at 2 p.m. at the Community Center and the Auer Center for Arts and Culture.

Other outdoor activities include a demonstration 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Old Fort of what the fort was like in 1754 when it was a French garrison. The Headwaters Park Ice Rink will be open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. for public skating with regular admission charges. Figure skating exhibitions will be at 1:15, 2:15, 3:15 and 4:15 p.m.

Horse-drawn carriages will take people on rides around the block for free from 1 to 4 p.m., starting at the Community Center, 233 W. Main St. Grace College and IPFW will play each other in the annual Polar Bear Rugby Game 1-3 p.m. at Lawton Park.

Indoor activities include crafts inside the downtown library, community center and botanical conservatory; half-price admission at Science Central and the History Center; free concerts at 1 and 4 p.m. at the Grand Wayne Convention Center; and live performances of “The People Could Fly” at 1 and 4 p.m. at the Auer Center for Arts and Culture's new ArtsLab black box theater.

Look for penguins at each Winterval site and jot down their names on the official Penguin Hunt form, which can be found at most Winterval locations. Submit your completed entry form at a designated location to be entered into a drawing for a prize.

When you get hungry or thirsty, stop in at one of the many downtown restaurants for a drink, snack or meal.

Go to www.downtownfortwayne.com and click on Winterval to get more information and to download a map showing where the activities are.

Also find information by clicking on Winterval at www.fortwayneparks.org.