There aren't many places where you can don a fish suit or ballerina outfit and have people pay you to jump into a giant hole in frigid Lake Superior. The Bayfield Winter Festival is one of those places, and it's all for a good cause.
The weekend of March 4-6, Bayfield, Wisconsin will be "celebrating snow, ice and cabin fever" during its 11th Annual Bayfield Winter Festival. While many of the featured activities will directly benefit local non-profit organizations like the Bayfield Area Recreation Center and Mt. Ashwabay Ski and Recreation Area, others are just plain crazy and fun. Major outdoor events throughout the weekend include a Polar Plunge in Lake Superior, the WinterDASH at Mt. Ashwabay, a boot hockey tournament, sledding and the Run on Water from Bayfield to Madeline Island.
New for 2016 is the Big Lake Boot Hockey Tournament at Legendary Waters on Saturday 10-2 pm. Top prize is $1000 with live music and room specials for teams. Saturday's Polar Bear Plunge is perhaps the most dramatic of the weekend's activities, with hundreds of spectators gathering to cheer on brave souls as they jump into the 33-degree lake water. Many participants don flamboyant costumes and perform acrobatic dives to vie for event prizes. The Plunge takes place at the bottom of Rittenhouse Ave (behind the Bayfield Inn) at 12:30pm - cameras are recommended!
Mt. Ashwabay's WinterDASH is a 5K winter obstacle course that is both challenging and fun with the motto "no gear - just guts". Participants will climb, crawl, carry and scramble their way through 200 acres to the grand finale - a tube ride to the finish line. The DASH starts at 3:30pm on Saturday. Everyone can then enjoy the Chilly Chili Contest at the Bayfield Pavilions, serving offerings from the area's best restaurants competing for your vote. Then celebrate in style at the WinterBASH. This year, WinterBASH features live music in downtown Bayfield, including headliner The Lords of Baltimore and local beer from South Shore Brewery. WinterBASH is free, but a $5 suggested donation/person is welcome, as the proceeds support Mt. Ashwabay.Visit www.mtashwabay.org for additional BASH and ski hill information.
Many other activities will take place throughout the weekend. For kids and families, the festival has Big Ice Golf, an egg hunt in the Rec Center pool, sledding at Legendary Waters Casino, plus downhill and cross-country skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Ashwabay Recreation Area all weekend. Finish off the weekend Sunday morning with a pancake feed to benefit the local fire department at Legendary Waters Casino – only $5 for adults or $2 for children ages 2-5.