Annual winter festival at Hanson Hills expands from one weekend in February to the entire month
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Grayling Recreation Authority is expanding Winter Fun Days – its annual winter festival held at Hanson Hills Recreation Area in February – from just one weekend to several in an effort to have more events and give more people an opportunity to participate in those events.
“In the past we would try to hold multiple events on just one weekend. It was really tough to do,” said Justin Andre, Director of Operations for Grayling Recreation Authority.
Also, Winter Fun Days was often held during Super Bowl weekend, making it difficult for people planning events around the game to take part in multiple events during the Hanson Hills festival.
Andre said Winter Fun Days organizers decided to add events to the festival, spread everything out, and use the whole month of February instead of just a couple of days.
“We will try to have something every weekend in February,” Andre said.
This year’s expanded Winter Fun Days will feature annual favorites such as the chili cook-off and the big air competition, plus a few new events, including a fat bike race.
Winter Fun Days 2017 will get started on Saturday, Feb. 4, with one new event (a fat bike race) and one old event (the chili cook-off). The fat bike race – presented by Funpromotions, a group that organizes a variety of foot races and bicycling events – is slated to start at 11 a.m. The chili cook-off – presented by the Legion Auxiliary – is scheduled for noon to 3 p.m.
The second weekend of Winter Fun Days 2017 will feature the Grayling Youth Booster Club’s Blizzardfest event and Grayling Recreation Authority’s Big Air Competition on Saturday, Feb. 11.
Blizzardfest will offer free tubing – Hanson Hills Recreation Area has tubing runs with lifts – from 10 a.m. to noon. The Blizzardfest euchre tournament is slated for 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Registration fee for the tournament is $20.
The Big Air Competition – presented by Rip-It Energy Drinks and Paul Olson Municipal Underwriters – will start at 3 p.m. on Feb. 11. Registration is scheduled for 12-2 p.m. Divisions include 12-and-under ski, 13-and-up ski, 12-and-under snowboard, and 13-and-up snowboard.
Registration fee is $20. To sign up, contact Hanson Hills at (989) 348-9266.
“We’re also going to have a live DJ out on the 11th,” Andre said.
The weekend of Feb. 18 and 19 will feature the Cardboard Sled Box Race and a cross country ski race.
The Cardboard Sled Box Race, presented this year by the Grayling High School ski team, has two parts: judging of the sleds at 12:15 p.m. and the actual race down the hill at 1 p.m. Sleds have to be constructed from cardboard and duct tape. Registration fee is $5 per sled.
A new aspect of this year’s Cardboard Sled Box Race? A theme. This year, it’s Star Wars.
“They decided to do a theme this year. They’re going to do a Star Wars theme. That’ll be pretty neat to see,” Andre said.
The Hanson Hills Classic cross country ski race will start at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19. The Classic is a 14K race with a men’s division and a women’s division.