After another unseasonably warm weekend, organizers of the annual WinterWest event are excited to see sub-freezing temperatures in the 10-day forecast. The two-week event, which will be held at Richmond Park on Grand Rapids’ Westside, begins in less than two weeks and will run from January 25 – February 10.
“Temperatures in the teens by the middle of next week? It’s about time!” exclaimed Paul Knust, a member of the WinterWest planning team. “After the weather last year forced us to cancel most of our ice-related events, we’re excited to have ice skating back at the Park.”
According to the event website, WinterWest is a celebration of Winter in West Michigan with the idea of getting people out of the house to enjoy all that winter has to offer. The 2-week festival offers several planned events including the Crazy Cardboard Sled Competition, a 3-on-3 Hockey Tournament, and the Richmond Park 5k Trail Run, an adventure-style race presented by Winter Rush.
A new addition to the WinterWest line-up this year is the final race in the FatbikeGRR Fat Bike Race Series, hosted by Winter Rush and Central District Cyclery.
WinterWest is a collaborative effort of WelcomeWest, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, and the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department, to encourage residents to take advantage of one of Grand Rapids’ great parks.
“There is a long history of sledding and ice skating at Richmond Park,” says event co-organizer Kyle Van Strien. “We’re excited to offer this opportunity for families to enjoy the snow and cold weather together.”
The warming shelter will be open and complimentary hot chocolate and coffee will be available on weekends and during planned events. “We’re very grateful to our event sponsors who make all of this possible – from the hot chocolate to the ice rinks, we couldn’t do this without them,” says Steve Faber, planning team member and Executive Director of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.
WinterWest 2013 event sponsors include Rockford Construction, Meijer, Georgio’s Gourmet Pizza, B & B Beer, Family Fare, the West Grand Neighborhood Organization, and Brann’s Sizzling Steaks and Sports Grille. Event organizers are also working collaboratively with the Grand Rapids Public Schools to offer opportunities for students in the local neighborhood schools, like Harrison Park.
“We’re all about creating a place where individuals and families want to live, work and play,” says Van Strien. “WinterWest is just one more effort to highlight why we love Grand Rapids!”
More details and a schedule of planned events are available at welcomewest.org/winterwest.