The holiday season is a tough act to follow in terms of fun and excitement. Once the tree comes down and the lights turn off, that’s when the gloom sets in for many people. According to the American Psychiatric Association, January and February are the most difficult months for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
But this year, things can be different — because the perfect antidote to your winter blues is waiting in Northern Utah.
In the words of Wisconsin’s award-winning author Parker J. Palmer, “The winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out into them.” Fortunately, Utah is a world-renowned winter playground. And there’s no better place to immerse yourself into some full-fledged, frosty weather fun than at this year’s Bear Lake Monster Winterfest!
Bear Lake’s biggest annual winter event happens Jan. 27 - 29 and features family-friendly events you won’t want to miss. Here’s a preview of what you can look forward to this year.
Enter the Monster Chili Cook-off
Time to put that famous family chili recipe to the test and see if you can wow the judges. The Monster Chili Cook-off will be held Saturday at 1:00 PM, and you can register online. Past prizes have included Camp Chef stoves, coolers and more, so get cooking — and good luck!
Go jump in the lake for a good cause
Help raise funds for charity while donning your best costume and taking a chilly dunk in the lake! Best-dressed groups and individuals will win prizes. Pre-plunge online registration is $30 per jumper until 3 p.m. the day before the event. After that, the price goes up, so register today! In addition to the major bragging rights, you’ll also walk away with a hoodie to commemorate the occasion. (And don’t worry — you’ll have access to a free warm shower afterward!).
Get racing (on land or water)
Love to run? Enter the Saturday morning Monster 5k! For those who prefer a water race, you’ll be happy to hear that the Cardboard Boat Regatta is back again this year. See if you can construct a sea-worthy vessel made entirely of cardboard in this fun, one-of-a-kind competition. But you’ll want to register ASAP since slots are filling up fast.
Enjoy some free fun in January
When you’ve already maxed out the family budget during the holidays, having some free entertainment options is a great way to start the new year. Luckily, the Bear Lake Winterfest features many activities that don’t cost a thing.
Try your hand at a new winter sport with the fat-tire bikes, snowshoes, snowmobiles and tubes (for the kids) available at the Winter Sports Demo. Then enjoy some complimentary hot cocoa and treats to help you warm up!
You can also bring the kids to the free Winterfest Social on Friday evening for some disco dancing and a free fish fry. If you’re feeling competitive, enter the free Cisco fishing tournament and you may just walk away with the top prize.
Most activities take place in the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center. The state parks entrance fee at the Marina will be waived for those attending the event. (Event organizers hope you’ll consider donating to The Family Place, a nonprofit offering individual counseling and family therapy.) Every vehicle in the marina will receive a ticket for the Monster Raffle on Saturday, but you must be present to win, so be sure to stick around!
Put on by the Bear Lake Rendezvous Chamber of Commerce, Bear Lake Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, Garden City Fire District, and Bear Lake State Park, as well as numerous sponsors, the community of Bear Lake want to spread some January joy and fun, all while helping those in need. Mark your calendars for Jan. 27 - 29, 2023.
For more details about the event, visit their website at bearlakemonsterwinterfest.com.