This Zany Festival In Idaho Is Sure To Give You Chills This Winter
There are traditional winter festivals that pay homage to the classic, simple beauty and activities of the season: sledding, snow carving, ice skating, and traditional carnival fare. But then there are festivals that know how to kick winter up a notch and bust visitors out of their snow-induced blues. The Fire and Ice Winterfest in southeast Idaho is one of them–and it’s so uniquely wacky that it has made America’s Top 10 Zaniest Winter Festivals for years. Are you ready?
Tucked away in southeast Idaho, there is a community that shares its name with a set of world-famous hot pools at the center of town: Lava Hot Springs.
Despite the ahh-worthy hot springs, however, this favorite summer tourist destination sees a drop in traffic every winter.
To beat those wintertime blues, the city of Lava Hot Springs started an epic annual festival that combines the town's "hot" reputation with the snowy fun of the season.
It's called the
Lava Hot Springs Fire and Ice Winterfest, and it's a truly epic event!
The icy beauty of winter is celebrated during this one-of-a-kind spectacle.
The festival is held every year during the first week of February (Feb. 3-5, 2017), and is a weekend-long delight for participants of all ages.
Starting with a series of tame events on Friday, visitors will find plenty to do here during their stay.
A wine tasting, Bingo tournament, comedy night, and more are lined up for the evening's events, kicking enthusiasm into high gear with a series of opportunities to win incredible prizes.
But the headline events begin on Saturday, including the zany, totally unique parade for which the festival has come to be known for: the Polar Float Parade down the Portneuf River.
Whether snowy, sunny, or frigid, participants dress up in the costumes of their choosing, grab a tube, and relax (or paddle) their way down one of the best floating rivers in the entire country. For those who dare to brave the icy waters, prizes are awarded for the best group and individual costumes. Fortunately, you can take your sweet time with the float. It is a parade, after all!
But only if you're "zany" enough to brave the frigid waters!
In addition to the float parade, the day consists of a carnival, a superhero-themed swimming endurance competition at the local Olympic Pool...
And epic fire twirling performances. Hence, the FIRE and ICE title. But for those looking for more opportunities to win big, a casino night and second Bingo tournament will be taking place as well.
On Saturday, the headline event takes the national trend of "undie runs" to a new level as well with the Running of the Bulls: a frigid jog down Main St. in your favorite swimsuit.
Participants are invited to warm back up with a free dip in the hot springs, only to venture back out and enjoy the cutest race of them all: a rubber penguin race down the Portneuf.
But for all of the zany chills involved in this festivals, there are more than a few fantastic ways to warm up. Give this overlooked festival a try and you'll be sure to have a story worth telling over and over!
Are you or someone you know crazy enough to give this nationally-recognized festival a try? Tag them and share! Registration is happening now and you can get all the details on the Lava Hot Springs
For another festival coming up soon, check out the deets for the
McCall Winter Carnival.
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