Winterfest celebration returns to Howard City this weekend

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 3:09 pm on Thursday, January 19, 2012

Midnight Cattle Callers, a local band founded by Seth and Dee Sutton of Belding, will perform 7 p.m. Saturday at Zellie’s Opry House as part of the third annual Howard City Winterfest. The band also features Roger Brown, Luke Gitchel, Keith Hudson and Sean Hoffman. — Courtesy photo

HOWARD CITY —  Winter will be celebrated in the Panhandle this weekend as Winterfest returns to downtown Howard City.

The third annual event features a variety of old and new family-friendly activities Friday and Saturday.

Panhandle Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marianne VanBennekom said one of the new events is a snow treasure dig at 1 p.m. Saturday near the Timothy C. Hauenstein Reynolds Township Library. The event is for three age groups of children and features hidden treasures buried in mounds of snow.

Other children’s activities Saturday include a sledding hill, snow fort building, snow painting, frozen chicken bowling and an obstacle course by the library. A decorated sled parade will take place at 12:30 p.m. Saturday with lineup at Kindel & Co.

Another new event this year is a hearing screening clinic from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Howard City Fire Department. The clinic is sponsored by the Howard City Lions Club.

While the snowmobile fun run has been canceled due to lack of snow on the White Pine Trail, the popular bed races will return at 4 p.m. Saturday on Williams Street by the library.

“The bed races always create a lot of excitement,” VanBennekom said. “We have some local businesses that have challenged each other and we have quite a few teams signed so up far.”

Other adult activities Saturday include frozen turkey bowling at 2 p.m. and a four-person wooden ski race at 3 p.m., both on Williams Street near the library. A chili cook-off will be from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at the Howard City Fire Department.

Latitudes Roadhouse will host an entertainment tent with food and drinks tonight and Saturday night. The Outer Vibe, an alternative rock/pop band from Grand Rapids, will perform in the tent from 6 p.m. to midnight tonight and 5 p.m. to midnight Saturday.

Latitudes owner Frank Zamarippa is excited about the new and improved entertainment tent.

“The tent is going to be nice and warm,” he said. “We’ve got a coat check and a nice heating unit so it’ll be hot, not cold. We’re looking forward to a fantastic Winterfest this year, especially with the live music.”

Zellie’s Opry House will host a Friday Fun Night concert from 6 to 10 p.m. tonight. Midnight Cattle Callers, a local country/Western/swing band, will perform 7 p.m. Saturday at Zellie’s. Both events at Zellie’s cost $5.

Midnight Cattle Callers, a Jammy-nominated band, was founded by Seth and Dee Sutton of Belding. They are joined by guitarist Roger Brown, banjo, guitar and mandolin picker Luke Gitchel, clarinetist Keith Hudson and fiddler Sean Hoffman.

Winterfest is sponsored by the Panhandle Area Chamber of Commerce, the village of Howard City and the Downtown Development Authority. Visit for a complete schedule of events.

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