The cold months don’t have to be spent entirely indoors. The City of East Lansing invites residents to embrace the winter, shop local vendors, enjoy ice carving demonstrations and take fun festive family photos at Winter Fest. This year’s event will be held Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hannah Community Center.
Administrative Services Coordinator Justin Drwencke of the East Lansing Parks, Recreation and Arts Department is the primary coordinator for Winter Fest. The event has a new name this year after being known in previous years as Winter Glow.
The now Winter Fest began in 2000 as the Winter Festival and Chili Cook-off and has evolved over the past two decades, Drwencke said. Typically, it draws 1,200 to 2,000 attendees.
“The winter-inspired annual tradition seeks to promote local and small businesses and provide free activities for the community to enjoy,” he said.
The name isn’t the only change this year. There’s also a new location for the festival, which had been held downtown on Albert Avenue in recent years.
“Winter Fest will take place at the Hannah Community Center to provide both indoor and outdoor activities for the community,” Drwencke said. “We’ll have many of the same experiences from previous years, plus some new additions including Nerf battles and bounce houses.”
The new location also allows more space for vendors and visitors alike along with shelter from unpredictable December weather.
“There are many activities that the community can look forward to at the event,” Drwencke said. “We’ll have a live ice carving demonstration, marshmallow roasting and s’mores, an indoor bounce house, indoor Royale Battlefield Nerf Wars, a photo booth, and craft activities provided by the East Lansing Public Library and East Lansing Art Festival.
“Additionally, We’ll have live entertainment throughout the event, featuring Magician Alan Kazam at 11 a.m., Rock the Block (Urban Style Line Dancing) at noon, and Heartland Klezmorim at 1 p.m. The Winter Farmers Market is always popular.”
Farmers market vendors will set up inside the Hannah Center Banquet Hall and food trucks will be serving outside the building. Vendors include Fur Real Dog Snacks, Summer Nights Apiaries, River Tree Coffee Company, Sweet Potato Delights, The Beeswax BARRN, Magnolia Farms, Uncle Hairy’s, Jenny’s Sweets & Treats, Taqueria Monarca, ELPRA Pottery, and Grand Traverse Sauce Company.
The Hannah Center is located at 819 Abbot Road and parking there is free.