Winter Weekends debut with seasonal fun

By: Mike Koury | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published December 31, 2015

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Now that it’s officially winter, a new program from the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Department will celebrate the season.

The department is introducing Winter Weekends, which is three different events over separate weekends in January and February.

“We were just looking for ways to get people outdoors,” Parks and Rec Marketing Coordinator Meagan Kurnat said. “Get people outdoors in the wintertime and kind of experience the season and get some people to enjoy our parks.

“There are a lot of things to do in the winter, and I think they’re kind of underutilized. So it was kind of just a way to invite people out and do some fun winter activities.”

The weekend of Jan. 16 will feature sleigh rides, Jan. 30 will offer snowshoeing and the weekend of Feb. 13 will offer cardboard sledding and other games. Each event also will include a hot cocoa station, as well as a snowman building contest and ice sculptures with a photo station. All events take place 1-4 p.m. at Marshbank Park, 2805 Hiller.

A lack of snow might put a damper on the events, but Kurnat said some of the events can be altered if the snow doesn’t show.

“For the (sleigh rides), as long as the park’s not totally muddy, they can actually put wheels on the sleigh,” she said, “so they can do a sleigh ride on wheels. And for the snowshoeing … (we) would just do a guided nature hike if, for some reason, they can’t snowshoe.

“For the cardboard sledding, with that one, they actually make their cardboard sleds ahead of time and then there’s a judging contest. So they can still bring their sled, participate in the contest, and then the games actually can go without snow. So hopefully we can still run all three.”

The contests are for ages 5 and older and cost $6 per person. Registration is required for anyone looking to participate in one of the contests, which can be done by calling (248) 451-1900 or by visiting westbloom fieldparks.org. Each event is limited to 100 people.

Another event taking place this winter for the family focuses on becoming a track detective and will be guided by township naturalist Lauren Azoury.

Azoury said the event is perfect for all ages. She will go over signs and clues that animals leave and will teach how to track animals in nature.

“They’ll get to meet some of our animals that live indoors that might not be outside during the wintertime,” she said. “We’ll talk about animals that are active in the winter, like deer tracks, rabbit tracks, squirrel tracks; what they look like and how to find them.”

The tracking event takes place 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9. People attending should register, which can be done by visiting westbloom fieldparks.org or by calling (248) 451-1900.

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