A crowd watches a group of people jump into the ice cold waters of Bear Lake during the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest plunge.
GARDEN CITY – The residents of Garden City and surrounding areas are gearing up for the biggest winter event of the year, The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest. The festivities will begin on Friday, Jan. 24, and go through Sunday, Jan. 26.
There is parking available at the Marina and the fee will be waived for those attending with hopes people will donate to The Family Place.
Debbie Batt a member of the Bear Lake Valley Chamber of Commerce and this year’s event chair of the Winterfest is expecting it to be bigger and better than before, even with COVID precautions. Masks are required.
“We are looking for everyone to have a great time again this year,” she said. “We will be doing some of the events differently like the costume parade and plunge will be spaced out to promote social distancing.”
There is a free event Friday at the Logan Canyon Sinks area. Epic Sports will have snowshoes, fat-tire bikes, snowmobiles and tubes for the kids to try out. There is a free shuttle from the Bear Lake Marina and Sunrise Resort to the sinks area. They will also have free hot chocolate available to drink.
From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. there is a social with family-friendly activities and the Taste of Bear Lake at Sunrise Resort from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. where local restaurants will have their best food available for a reasonable cost.
On Saturday, there are activities at Cisco Beach where the annual tournament will begin at 6 a.m. with judging from 11 a.m. to noon. Entrance fees apply and a Utah fishing license is required.
“They judge the largest and smallest Cisco and give them a prize,” Batt said. “There is also a drawing and prizes given out throughout the tournament.”
There will also have a cisco fry during the tournament.
The Chili Cook-off is set for 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. with judging beginning at 12:30 p.m.
The Monster Cardboard Boat Regatta takes place from 11 a.m. to noon.
“For it’s second year the Cardboard Boat Regatta is getting almost as popular as the plunge,” Batt said. “We have more people signed up this year than last year.”
Saturday, the ever-popular Monster Plunge will take place at about 2 p.m. with the parade and costume judging will taking place before the Plunge.
Tami Leonhardt, from the Bear Lake Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, said this year the local merchants will be more involved in this year’s activities.
“We will have a large tent set up at the marina for local merchants to show their products,” she said. “DWR will have a raffle during the day. Every car parked there will be given a ticket and they will have a drawing periodically during the day and they will give away prizes.”
She said they are giving away thousands of dollars in prizes of prizes donated by businesses in Bear Lake and Rich County businesses.
The winners of the different categories for the Bear Lake Monster Plunge, the Cardboard Boat Regatta, the Cisco Disco, Chili Cook Off and 5K will be given at the Saturday night awards ceremony after the fireworks show. The ceremony will be held at the Sunrise Resort and Event Center located at 865 N., Harbor Village E. Dr, Garden City from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.
Leonhardt said its fun to see people discovering Bear Lake as a winter destination.
“Water temperature should be about 32 degrees and the outdoor temperature it’s going to be in the high 20’s to low 30’s,” she said. “It’s fun to see people discovering Bear Lake as a winter destination.”
The final event is a Sunday morning pancake breakfast sponsored by Cody’s Gastro Garage in Garden City. The cost of the breakfast is $5 for children and $8 for adults.