Snowflake Days marks 50 years

Coon Rapids Snowflake Days will celebrate its 50th anniversary in style early next year.

The 2014 Snowflake Days has a host of events scheduled from its start Thursday, Jan. 23 to its conclusion Sunday, Feb. 16.

Many of them are activities new to Snowflake Days, some of them are traditional events that have been part of the celebration for years – the Coon Rapids Junior Royalty Pageant is an example – and a few are returning after a long absence, like softball in the snow at Sand Creek Park.

Snowflake Days began in 1964 as a project of the  Coon Rapids Jaycees, now no longer in existence.

“It was conceived of the notion that the city of Coon Rapids needed a civic celebration in which the entire community could participate,” said Diane Buszta, longtime Coon Rapids Snowflake Association president.

A winter celebration was chosen to avoid competing with the summer event in other communities, Buszta said.

By 1968, the celebration had grown large enough to require broader sponsorship and the Coon Rapids Snowflake Association was created, she said.

“We have had many events over the years, some have come and some have left and come back,” Buszta said.

To mark 50 years of Snowflake Days, a larger committee has been formed, the celebration has been extended to four weekends and a lot more events have been planned.

“Get ready to have some winter fun,” Buszta said.

“Gather your family and friends and come out to the Snowflake Days celebration. Celebrate winter and have a great time at these community events.

Activities scheduled to date include:

• Thursday and Friday, Jan. 23-24, Mayor’s Cup simulated golf tournament, Bunker Hills Golf Course Clubhouse.

• Saturday, Jan. 25, kids medallion hunt, 10 a.m., Al Flynn Park, with $200 gift certificates for bikes as prizes for the winners of the boys’ and girls’ hunts sponsored by the Coon Rapids Fire Relief Association.

• Saturday, Jan. 25, community sock hop, 4-6 p.m., Sand Creek Elementary School.

• Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25-26, softball in the snow, Sand Creek Park, sponsored by Shortstop Bar and Grill.

• Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25-26, boot hockey tournament, Coon Rapids Ice Center.

• Sunday, Jan. 26, family skating event, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Coon Rapids Ice Center.

• Saturday, Feb. 1, North Stars alumni hockey game versus Coon Rapids Guns and Hoses/Rum River Lawmen, Coon Rapids Ice Center.

• Saturday, Feb. 1, Coon Rapids Arts Commission art expo, 2-7 p.m., Coon Rapids Ice Center.

• Saturday, Feb. 1, youth ice fishing tournament sponsored by Coon Rapids Athletic Association, Crooked Lake Park.

• Sunday, Feb. 2, pickleball tournament.

• Sunday, Feb. 2, all-you-can-eat waffle breakfast, 8 a.m. to noon, Coon Rapids VFW, sponsored by Coon Rapids North Star Lions Club with proceeds to benefit community youth organizations.

• Monday, Feb. 3, beach party with Beachcomber Bob, 11 a.m., Coon Rapids Senior Center.

• Monday, Feb. 3, chair massage for seniors, Coon Rapids Senior Center.

• Wednesday, Feb. 5, Snowflake bingo, 10:30 a.m., Coon Rapids Senior Center, sponsored by Culver’s of Coon Rapids.

• Thursday, Feb. 6, family sledding event, Wintercrest Park, sponsored by city of Coon Rapids Well is Fun Committee.

• Thursday, Feb. 6, acoustic concert by GB Leighton and Tim Mahoney, Harvest Grill Event Center at Bunker Hills Golf Course Clubhouse, sponsored by Coon Rapids Athletic Association.

• Saturday, Feb. 8, Polar Plunge, 1 p.m. Crooked Lake Park, fundraiser to support Special Olympics.

• Saturday, Feb. 8, Coon Rapids Junior Royalty Pageant, 1 p.m., Coon Rapids High School Auditorium.

• Sunday, Feb. 9, bean bag tournament, Coon Rapids American Legion.

• Friday, Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day Sno Ball Dance, Coon Rapids Civic Center.

• Saturday, Feb. 15, children’s carnival, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sand Creek Elementary School.

• Sunday, Feb. 16, boot hockey tournament, Coon Rapids Ice Center.

• Sunday, Feb. 16, Coon Rapids High School cross country ski event and activities, Bunker Hills Golf Course.

Other events planned include an adult medallion hunt starting Saturday, Jan. 25 until the medallion is found with a $500 prize sponsored by Cedar Valley Exteriors; snow sculpture contest; ice bar at Bunker Hills Golf Course Clubhouse; photograph scavenger hunt; and Coon Rapids history trivia contest.

In addition, there will be a 50 years of Snowflake Days display in the big showcases in the hallway of the Coon Rapids Civic Center.

“If anyone in the community has anything they would like to loan use for display we would be most appreciative,” Buszta said.

“We will tag it with who donated it and it will be returned after the celebration.”

People can drop off items at the civic center and leave them with Kris Niebler, Coon Rapids Senior Services program specialist.

The display will go up in early January and be taken down after Feb. 16, according to Buszta.

Besides Buszta, members of the organizing committee include John Leggate, Coon Rapids North Star Lions Club; Ted Schmolke, president of Coon Rapids Athletic Association; Mayor Tim Howe; Coon Rapids City Councilmembers Denise Klint and Jerry Koch; Mary Ann Kehn, Coon Rapids Arts Commission chairperson; Kris Niebler, Coon Rapids Senior Services; Caroline LaCoursiere, Coon Rapids Police Officer Bryan Platz; Eileen Matson; and Coon Rapids Fire Inspector Shannon Moen.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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