On January 22 and 23 in downtown Columbia City, Indiana the Fire and Ice Winterfest 2011 commenced. Events were kicked off with 4-year-old Malerie Nix riding down Van Buren Street in a fire truck, being honored for naming the Winterfest mascot “Ficey.” It was one of the coldest weekends of the winter. The festivities started at 8 am on Saturday with temperatures below zero that never reached above freezing. That didn’t stop the community from enjoying what the 4th year’s annual Winterfest had to offer however.
Events included ice carvings, a snowflake 5k run, a chili cook-off, the fire and ice bazaar, children’s activities and ice cream competitions for every age group including adults and the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and the Whitley County Authorities comprised of the Columbia City police and firemen.
Booths of food vendors sold their cold and hot food and drinks around the town square. The food vendors included: a kettle corn and popcorn stand; restaurant Gaerte’s Jonah Style sold fish, tenderloins, curly fries and drinks; the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary sold nuts, hot spiced cider, coffee and hot chocolate; Columbia City Locker sold hot foods; and the Columbia City Band Boosters sold chicken noodle soup, hot drinks, and scarves to take the chill off the cold weather.
The Center, which held the competitions and the activities for the children also held the Etna United Methodist Church selling their famous homemade chicken and noodles and Sloppy Jos to the community. At noon on Saturday the winners of the 5k marathon were announced as:
1st place Jude Stieglitz with a time of 18:10
2nd place Dylan Cozad with a time of 18:11
3rd place Mike Mckeighen with a time of 19:12
1st place Connie Gordon with a time of 25:24
2nd place Andrea Lehr with a time of 25:33
3rd place Charlotte Mosier with a time of 26:27
The Fire and Ice Bazaar was held in the Clugston Building with some two dozen vendors from the Whitley County Farmer’s Market selling their wares. Bill Klenke sold innovative designed wooden toys, bird houses and bird feeders. His daughter in the neighboring booth sold clothe tote bags, key rings, leather purses and wallets. Brooke Burman and Trudy Miller-Longhenry sold jewelry, scarves, button rings and bracelets, vintage jewelry and more delicate fineries. From the “Shooting Stars Farm,” Becky Thompson sold alpaca fiber products such as alpaca scarves and socks and hats which her husband said keeps you warmer in the winter than wool. Items such as paintings, painted glassware, handmade cards, BBQ sauce and BBQ nuts and lotions were sold by some of the other vendors.