The Chippewa Valley’s most ambitious outdoor winter festival is coming around again in its second year: The Northwest Wisconsin Winter Fest & Games held Jan. 29-31 at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds (225 Edward St., Chippewa Falls). Last year’s festival was enjoyed by thousands from all over the Midwest, so in advance of 2016’s Winter Fest we want to point out some of the great winter fun you can look forward to.

1: Let’s be clear here: Winter Fest is a wintertime family-friendly festival for five dollars
Winter Fest and Games - Photo by:  Dan Reiland
Held on the same grounds as SpringFest, Oktoberfest and the Northern Wisconsin State Fair, Winter Fest will feature all the amenities for a great winter party with a special emphasis on enjoying wintry sports and activities. The fest will be open 4:30pm-12:30am Friday, 9am-12:30am Saturday, and 9am-1pm Sunday. Admission is just $5 for a general weekend pass.

2: Play a variety of outdoor games and recreational activities
Winter Fest and Games - Photo by:  Dan Reiland
The festival grounds features ice skating, softball, broomball, kubb, disc golf, rugby, snowshoeing, bubble soccer, a footrace, fat tire bike race and a radar run and drag races for snowmobilers. Huddle around a fire pit when you’re feeling chilly, and be sure to stick around Friday night for the fireworks display and Saturday evening for the hot air balloon glow.

3: Enjoy great food, drink, and live music all day
Winter Fest and Games - Photos by:  Dan Reiland
Check out the great eats by local food vendors, drinks, and dance to a live DJ or local bands Irie Sol, Tugg, Contradiction, Phoenix, Bear Creek Band and Frantic Antics, plus Madison Rising (NY), Dirt Road Dixie (MN), and Wayland (MI), and more.

4. You don’t even have to drive there
Winter Fest and Games - Photo by: rightwayshuttle.com
The festival is offering a convenient shuttle service all three days with pickup locations at UW-Eau Claire’s Fine Arts Building (First Ave. & Water St.), the Goldridge parking lot behind Mega Foods East (on Fairfax St.), Woodman’s Market (2855 Woodman Ave., Altoona), and the T&C Roundabout Bar (8685 Highway 124, Chippewa Falls) which features a great option for those arriving by snowmobile. Shuttles arrive every fifteen minutes and are active until Winter Fest ends each night.

To learn more about the Northwest Wisconsin Winter Fest and Games visit their website, find them on Facebook, call (715) 833-7435 or email contactwinterfest@gmail.com. Stay warm out there!