ST. CLAIR SHORES — The dates and activities are set for the newest festival to hit St. Clair Shores — Aqua Freeze.
Organizers announced at an October City Council meeting that the newest festival would kick off at 5 p.m. Feb. 21 and continue through the weekend, ending Feb. 23. With a Winter Olympics theme, co-chair Geri Hofmann said they are hoping to have something for everyone.
That weekend is the end of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Hofmann said, which is why organizers chose that as their theme. The festival will kick off with a six-person torch relay run beginning at City Hall at 4:30 p.m. and making its way down Jefferson Avenue to Wahby Park. The torch will be handed over to Mayor Kip Walby at the end of the relay, and he will light an ice torch to kick off the festival at Blossom Heath Park.
“People will be able to request to be in the run,” Hofmann said. “We’re going to pick the winners and give them a chance to run a couple blocks.”
Those wishing to run in the relay can enter for a chance to win a spot by purchasing a limited edition black Aqua Freeze Festival T-shirt or sweatshirt by Nov. 29 at www.scsaquafreezefest.com. Winners will be announced at the Dec. 6 St. Clair Shores Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Other events planned for the weekend include two-on-two ice hockey and figure skating demonstrations from the St. Clair Shores hockey and figure skating associations. Co-chair Linda Bologna said they are looking for other businesses and local community service clubs to step up to help and sponsor other events, as well.
After the demonstrations, Bologna said the ice would be used for open skating. Pond hockey is also a possibility, she said, but she added that, “this way, we can have the event whether the pond hockey can go or not.”
St. Clair Shores Parks and Recreation has tried for two years to host a winter pond hockey tournament on the canals of Lake St. Clair, but the event was canceled both years due to thin ice.
Local landscaping companies are stepping up to make a sledding hill, as well, which Bologna said would then stick around as long as weather permits.
The Aqua Freeze Festival will also feature an ice-carving competition and dozens of other ice sculptures to be displayed throughout the park. Other activities include ice bowling with frozen turkeys; miniature golf; a children’s tent run by the St. Clair Shores Women’s Civic League; a fish fry on Friday hosted by the Men’s Club from St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School; a warming tent with food, beverages, beer and wine; a chili dog lunch hosted by the St. Clair Shores Optimists Club; and pasta dinner on Saturday.
“This will be the first year ever I have prayed for snow,” Bologna said.
A pancake breakfast is planned for Sunday morning. Organizers are also hoping to have a “Polar Plunge” at the beach.
“When the kids and adults all decide to run into the cold water, we’ll have a lot of warming tents,” Hofmann said.
Themed apparel will even be available for the event at Embroidery & Much More and at Gilbert’s Hardware on Harper Avenue. Information is being updated at SCSAquaFreeze.com, and those wishing to sponsor an event or get information about volunteer opportunities can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I know the community’s working hard,” said Walby. “We appreciate it; we’re excited.”
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