Crystal Lake Winter Festival set for Jan. 21

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 10:22 am on Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brave festival-goers take a chilly dip in frozen Crystal Lake last year. (File photo)

CRYSTAL — The third annual Crystal Lake Winter Festival is approaching quickly and looks to feature some new events, as well as original fan favorites, such as the polar plunge.
The polar plunge involves taking a chilly dip into a frozen-over Crystal Lake.
“Last winter’s event attracted somewhere between 30 and 50 people,” Crystal Township Fire Department Assistant Chief Scott Brundage said. “There’s kind of a concern right now that we won’t have any ice in late January, but that would be highly unusual.”
Brundage said the fire department will cut a hole in the ice about eight feet wide near the public boat launch for people to jump into the lake.
“It’s darn cold water. There’s no way I could do it,” he said. “But those who participate take pledges and the money goes toward purchasing extrication equipment for the fire department. It’s a good cause.”
Among returning events for the festival scheduled for Jan. 21 is the chili cook-off, which Winter Festival Committee Chairwoman Pam Greenhoe said was a success at the previous festival.
“The chili cook-off has been a hit as we ran out of chili last year,” Greenhoe said. “The local businesses provide chili for the public to sample and vote on. A trophy is given to the winner to place in their business for the year. Also, the public can bring their chili in a one quart container for a panel of judges to taste and vote on. A prize is given to the chili with the most votes.”
According to Greenhoe, one of the newer events, a soup and sandwich luncheon for a free will offering, will be hosted by the Crystal Lake Community Church.
Greenhoe said she hopes the upcoming festival will be another success for the Crystal area.
“The Crystal Township DDA (Downtown Development Authority) is the sponsor for this event and our goal is to bring life to our community during a slow time of year,” she said. “Crystal Lake is a beautiful lake and has much to offer even in the winter months. We promote this event year round and are seeing many cottage owners opening their cottages for the weekend to participate.”
For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit

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