The weather-weary can enjoy the fun side of winter at Freeze Fest on Sunday

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Freeze Fest

Terry Trueblood Recreation Area — Sunday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.

A view of the lake from the lodge at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, February 2018 — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

A couple weeks removed from late January’s life-threatening cold temperatures, this weekend’s more temperate weather will allow the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department to hold its fourth annual Freeze Fest at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area on Sunday, from 1 to 3 p.m. With thinning ice, activities like ice fishing may not be possible, but with a forecast predicting a 90 percent chance of snow, conditions should be fine for the two-hour event’s snowshoeing demonstration.

The National Weather Service is predicting temperatures in the upper 20s on Sunday, meaning this year’s Freeze Fest will be about 15 degrees warmer than last year’s, but nowhere near as warm as 2017’s, when the temperature hit 70 degrees.

Freeze Fest highlights indoor and outdoor winter activities for families, including a wide variety of educational arts and crafts, snowshoeing, animal tracking, marshmallow roasting and much more. All activities are free, but children must be accompanied by an adult. Hot chocolate will be provided for all.

“We are aiming to encourage outdoor winter activities and education opportunities,” Nancy Pope, science coordinator for the Parks and Recreation Department, told Little Village. “Last year we had about 250 people, and that was aligned with our expectations. We’ve had more in the past, but those were spring-like days with people coming out to enjoy the unusually warm weather.”

Freeze Fest was launched in 2015, as Iowa City was working on becoming a certified Blue Zones community. The Blue Zones Project is made up of cities that promote healthy living options to their residents.

According to Pope, more than a dozen area organizations have coordinated with the Parks and Recreation Department to make this year’s event happen, including the Iowa City Public Library, Take A Kid Outdoors (TAKO), Johnson County Conservation, the Iowa Raptor Project, the Iowa City Bird Club, Special Olympiads, Green Iowa AmeriCorps, Iowa City Science Booster Club, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center, Cedar Valley Rocks and Mineral, the Iowa Children’s Museum and the Boy Scouts of America.

Free parking will be available at Terry Trueblood, with overflow parking available on the east side of the venue.

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