Winterval’s back – come join the fun!

Many ice carvers will participate in the Winterval activities. (Photo courtesy of the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department)
People can enjoy Winterval horse-drawn carriage rides. (Photo courtesy of the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department)

If you’re an individual who bravely uses a certain four-letter word this time of year, The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department is providing a safe environment Saturday where you can use the word unlimitedly and no eyebrows will be raised in condemnation.

Winterval, the cold season’s popular highlight – and the four-letter word that gains huge acceptance that day is “snow!”

This year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever. The awe-inspiring ice carvers will be at various locations throughout the festivities. New this year for adults is the Winter Cozy at the Headwater Park Pavilion, which will offer beer, wine and mixed drinks for sale for adults 21 and over. Organizers are hoping you come to celebrate Winterval the Riverfront way; winter doesn’t have to mean icy roads and sidewalks to shovel. Join your friends under the heated tent, with cozy furniture, warm cocktails and food, live music and games, ice sculptures, and even the inflatable 30-foot Snowman bounce house that adults won’t have to share with the kids.

Also enjoy drink luges, an ice sculpture, according to Natalie Eggeman, Parks & Recreation Public Information Officer.

“We pour the drinks through the top and it comes out at the bottom. People will have their cups waiting for the drink to pour into them. Chocolate Martinis will be the drink in the luge. Also, we’ll have a hot chocolate bar, included with that $10 admission. For an extra charge, though, they can get a shot of Bailey’s Irish Crème liquor in it. This is all at the Winter Cozy,” she said.

This event is sponsored by Alt 99.5, Riverfront Fort Wayne, and Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation.

Families can delight in crowd-pleasing ice carvers, bird feeders and “Fairy Tales” at the Botanical Conservatory. They can also partake of cool Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream at Science Central for half-price.

“Nouvelle Annee: A New France 1758” will display an older way of life at the Historic Old Fort with re-enactors, bake sale and hot cocoa/coffee.

Take in Winterval at the Library from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. with ice carving and children’s crafts.

Headwaters Park will feature public ice skating as well as short-figure skating shows put on by the Fort Wayne Ice Skating Club (east) and a 30-foot bounce house (west).

Lawton Park will have the Snow Bowl Rugby Game which is a competition of area rugby teams. The Community Center will highlight the Winter Carnival with snow crafts and activities, ice-carving, inflatable toboggan run, the Heartland Mushers and the Fort Wayne Youtheater Storytime Theatre at 2 p.m.

Blue Moon Stargazing at the Lindenwood Nature Preserve 8:30 p.m. consists of a night hike, star gazing and moon viewing.

“I love Winterval because it gives me something festive to look forward to during the gloomiest time of the year. I’m always most excited to see the ice carvings. They’re different every year and it’s amazing how intricate the carvings are, considering that part of the work is being done with a chainsaw!” said Eggeman.

“Tolon Restaurant is sponsoring a 10-ice block sculpture this year that’s going to be pigs pulling a cart and people can sit in the ice cart for photos. Super excited about that! We’re also having an ice carving scavenger hunt. The prize package is worth $100. We really want people to go around and look at all the ice carvings this year and hope the scavenger hunt will help with that. There will be at least 15 ice sculptures-more than ever before.”

There is much more to enjoy at Winterval, and with luck, maybe there’ll even be a nice snowfall during the day!