For first-time Madison Winter Festival attendants Cora and Grant Peters, eleven and seven-years-old, cross-country skiing was the highlight of the weekend.
Workers began setting up for the 10th annual Madison Winter Festival Friday, and the event ran from Saturday through Sunday afternoon, hosting Madison area families with activities ranging from curling to snow sculpting.
Yuriy Gusev, festival director and executive director of the Central Cross Country Ski Association, said a partnership with Madison parks allows festival workers to make all the snow with a snow making system.
“It takes about 72 hours to make all the snow then we bring in about 100 dump trucks, so it’s quite a bit,” Gusev said.
Once the snow is brought in, volunteers spread the snow around the square with bulldozers, which takes around four-and-a-half hours, Gusev said. After the festival, it takes around three to four hours to remove, he said.
The Madison Winter Festival has become a popular tradition for families, according to Gusev. According to the festival’s website the event draws more than 20,000 people on average, including spectators, winter enthusiasts and athletes.
He added a wide variety of Madison organizations get involved in festival events relating to their cause.
“We have a curling club involved in the curling area, Blackhawk Ski Club is involved in ski jumping and the Humane Society is involved with dog jogs,” Gusev said.
One of the returning sponsors this year was DreamBank, a community center sponsored by American Family Insurance that opened in October and has sponsored Madison Winter Festival for its second year now.
Amy Jo Fisher, manager of DreamBank, said she remembers attending the event for years as a spectator before becoming a part of it. She said DreamBank plays a role in the event because it aligns well with their mission of promoting youth to achieve their dreams.
“We love to sponsor an event that makes dreamers of all ages go out there, try something new and find something that they are truly passionate about,” Fisher said.
The company sponsored the hockey, curling and ski jump activities, and Fisher said their location was busy with families and kids of all ages getting hot cocoa and taking pictures with the medals they won at the events happening right outside.
This year the curling station received help from a former Olympian, which made the event all the more special, Fisher said.
“We hosted Maureen Clark this year, previously Maureen Brunt, who was on the 2006 U.S. Olympic curling team,” Fisher said. “It was nice having someone out there who has done the work of being an Olympian introducing children to such a wonderful sport.”
The festival also featured ice sculpting, running, cyclo-cross, sit-skiing, sledding, tubing and snowshoeing. The Wisconsin High School Nordic Ski State Championships for sprints also took place Saturday, according to the festival’s website.
[Photos by Chris Lotten\The Badger Herald]