The 11th annual Ham Lake Snowbowl is on tap for Saturday, Feb. 11.
Held between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Ham Lake Park, this festival of ice and snow offers a glimpse into the world of hearty Minnesotans who love to venture outdoors when the temperatures plummet.
Buying a Ham Lake Snowbowl button for $3 will give you entry into the event, including parking. Ham Lake Park is located 1 mile east of Highway 65 on 153rd Avenue.
Chris Mickman, a member of the Ham Lake Snowbowl Committee since the festival’s inception, said the community members who started the Snowbowl in 2007 recognized that there are numerous summer festivals and not as much going on in the winter
“We recognize that people need to get out and be active over the winter,” Mickman said. “It’s a good time to get out and socialize and enjoy Minnesota at its finest.”
While most activities take place on Feb. 11, the Snowbowl officially kicks off with the hunt for the medallion. The first clue will be posted on Monday, Feb. 6 on the website, www.hamlakesnowbowl.org. Think fast, because the first person to find the medallion wins $500.
Guests are invited to walk amongst works of art carved out of blocks of snow. Anyone is invited to participate and there is no entry fee. The adults and kids are judged separately and children get smaller blocks of snow to work on.
Contact Chris Mickman at 763-434-4678 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your block of snow.
Food and light will be provided to the sculptors on Friday night. Those who are not competing but would love to see the sculptors at work are invited to stop by Ham Lake Park at any time Feb. 10, although sculptors will be working on their own schedule.
Mickman said the sculptors coming this year are David Aichinger. Dusty Thune and Pat Mogren, who are well-known in the snow sculpting community for their prowess in competitions.
There are many other contests that visitors can partake in that do not require any advanced registration. This includes guessing when the Snowbowl sculpture will fall into the lake and seeing who owns the strongest dog in a doll pull contest.
The Boy Scouts have had an ice fishing contest on Ham Lake long before the Snowbowl existed. This is the 30th year of the ice fishing contest. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 11.
The grand prize winner gets a power ice auger, second place gets a fish locater and third place wins a portable ice house.
Check-in starts at 10 a.m. The cost to take part in the ice fishing contest is $15 per person. Food and bait worms will be available for purchase. No alcohol will be allowed in the ice fishing area.
Local business will be having a Business Expo inside the tent set up next to the children’s gaming area. A sliding hill and carnival games and food vendors are set up next to this tent.
Ham Lake Park’s heated building next to the parking lot will be home of a Craft Extravaganza, which will also include the sale of homemade foods. Vendors have signed up to bring granola, honey, handmade cards and mittens.
The broom ball tournament returns for another year at the same spot as previous years.
Padraig’s Place, an adaptive ski and snowboard program, will be running the snowmobile sleigh rides this year.
Mickman said that for the second year in a row, the Ham Lake Snowbowl’s activities will be on land with the exception of the ice fishing tournament. This happened last year out of necessity, but Mickman said the volunteers that organize this event found that more people seemed to come out.
The limited snow accumulation this winter means another “Herculean effort” will be needed to bring in enough snow for the sculptures, the sledding hill and the dog pull area, Mickman said. He is hoping that local businesses can supply snow from their parking lots to limit the amount of snow the committee needs to buy from ski resorts.
For more complete information about the Snowbowl, including a list of businesses that will be at the Business Expo, registration forms, Snowbowl medallion hunt clues and for sponsorship information, visit www.hamlakesnowbowl.org.