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Where better to find the true expression of Door County culture than at Fish Creek's Winter Fest, taking place February 1-3, 2013. Twenty-six years ago, the tradition of Fish Creek's "Winter Games" was born as a way to cope with the winter doldrums.
Folks got together to play goofy games (such as ice bowling), eat hot food (lots of chili), and, of course, have a few libations. Since then, Fish Creek's Winter Fest has become one of the premier "quiet season" events in Door County, though one can hardly call Winter Fest quiet. The main festival tent is full of games for the kids, concessions, and a main stage. Stroll around outside of the tent where food booths, all fundraisers for local non-profits, sell hot and tasty treats such as make-your-own-s'mores, pork sandwiches, brats, hot cider, and glogg.
What exactly is it about winter that makes Door County folks want to fling things on the ice? Venture out onto the ice to try your hand at some of the more unusual winter sports you've never heard of. The bike toss, the toilet seat toss, the football toss, and - of course - ice bowling all beckon to those who love to throw stuff.
For those who need a bit of art in their cultural cocktail, check out the ice sculptures at Clark Park. If you prefer team sports, you can suit up with a few friends and join the Human Foosball Tournament. Is high fashion your cup of tea? You'll probably want to add some sparkly jewels to your favorite snowsuit and enter the snowsuit fashion show.
Can't imagine culture without a glass of wine? Head up the hill to Orchard Country Winery for their winter wine and cherry festival, which includes a cherry pit spit contest and free sleigh rides. Or stop by Peninsula School of Art for their annual SOUP! fundraiser, where you can buy a handmade bowl and enjoy all-you-can-eat soup and bread and browse the gallery, too.
The afternoon winds up with a sparkling fireworks display over the bay at 5:30, just in time for festivalgoers to grab some dinner at a local restaurant such as the White Gull Inn, Cooper's Corner, or The English Inn and head over the Door Community Auditorium to catch the bluegrass-infused music of JT & the Clouds/Birds of Chicago.
Not tired yet? Swing by Alexander's for a nightcap and catch Door County's premiere party band Big Mouth. But make sure you get your beauty sleep. You'll need to be up to run in - or, okay, maybe just watch - the annual fruit loop run at 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Door County people dressed in goofy outfits, running in the snow to beat the cold. Could this be the purest expression of Door County culture? You be the judge. Goofy costumes abound at Winter Festival. Photo by JR Jarosh.
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