Winter’s wrath won’t stop Crystal Lake Winter Festival


By Cory Smith • Last Updated 11:09 am on Thursday, February 11, 2016

Zaybben Bowen, 9, of Crystal, right, pulls his friend, Harrison Prebble, 9, of Ionia, on a sled as the winds howl and create a fog of snow at the 2015 Crystal Lake Winter Festival. — File photo

CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — Whether the lake remains frozen or melts to its liquid state, this year’s Crystal Lake Winter Festival will go on as scheduled.

Event organizers are ready for the 7th annual event in downtown Crystal on Saturday, with plenty of events planned for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

“I know there’s a lot of people in town who are excited,” said Crystal Lake Winter Festival Committee Chairwoman Deb Powell. “We try to get something new in every year, and this year is no exception.”

According to Powell, the excitement is more prevalent than usual, as twice within the last three years the festival has been mostly canceled — in 2013, due to warm temperatures and in 2015, due to dangerously cold temperatures.

However, this year, Powell said regardless of the temperature, “the show will go on.”

“Last time I knew, there was 10 inches of ice on the lake, but we’re getting into warm weather into the 40s (last weekend), so it’s been a strange winter preparing for the festival,” she said. “But we’re still going to have it.”

Powell said if warm temperatures make the lake unsafe to walk on, events such as the polar dip will be revised, perhaps into a “polar dash” where participates sprint into the icy waters instead of plunging through a hole in the ice.

This weekend’s forecast predicts very cold temperatures with Saturday’s high only reaching about 13 degrees.

“Everything is kind of up in the air right now … but we’re moving on forward,” she said. “The fireworks show, the chili cook-off, everything else will happen regardless.”

The festival will also feature new events, such as a vintage snowmobile show, as well as a raffle in which the winner walks away with a new ATV.

The tents located at the public beach will be placed in a new format, with DJing and singing offered as entertainment.

Original events, such as the signature evening fireworks show, as well as the ever-growing craft show at the Crystal Community Center, will again be featured.

“The fireworks, they are awesome, you can’t see a winter show like that anywhere else but Crystal,” Powell said. “That always gets people to come out and visit the festival.”

Crystal Township Supervisor Chris Johnston, a regular visitor of the festival, said he’s excited to see what fun this year’s events will bring.

“As I look outside, the weather doesn’t look ideal right now, but we’re supposed to get a cold spell, so we’re hoping for the best,” he said. “Even if it’s too warm to go on the ice, there’s lots of other events that don’t require a frozen lake, so it will be a good time for everyone, from children to adults.”

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