Blizzardfest – a winter festival collaboration between Grayling Recreation Authority and the Grayling Youth Booster Club – is adding another partner and more events this year.
For many years, Hanson Hills Recreation Area, which is managed by Grayling Recreation Authority, has conducted a winter festival during the month of February. Last year, Hanson Hills teamed up with the Grayling Youth Booster Club, combining elements of the club’s annual Blizzardfest with GRA’s Winter Fun Days to create a winter festival that incorporated past favorites with new activities. Organizers opted to use the Blizzardfest name for the new collaboration.
Last year’s Blizzardfest, on the Saturday of the two-day event, featured a downhill canoe race – the Winter Downhill Canoe/Kayak Chute-Out – on the tubing hill, plus a beer tent conducted by the Grayling Youth Booster Club as a fundraiser. Saturday also featured free tubing at Hanson Hills. On Sunday, the 2019 Blizzardfest featured the Big Air Competition, a longtime Winter Fun Days event for skiers and snowboarders.
The 2020 Blizzardfest will feature a similar format. There will be free tubing (and free hot chocolate) at Hanson Hills from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, February 8. No registration is required, according to event organizers.
The Winter Downhill Canoe/Kayak Chute-Out is slated for noon on February 8 at the tubing hill. Registration forms are available online at https://hansonhills.org/blizzard-fest
. Cost to participate is $20 per one-person kayak. A few of the rules? According to Grayling Recreation Authority, “paddlers must be 16 years or older” and “all participants must have the following equipment: boat, paddles, PFD, and helmet.” Weights cannot be added to the boats, according to GRA.
The Winter Downhill Chute-Out will also feature a Business Race two-person canoe division. Hanson Hills will provide the “boat, paddles, PFD, and helmet” for the Business Race and the registration fee is $100 per boat, according to GRA.
The Grayling Youth Booster Club’s beer tent will be available starting at noon on February 8, and the area will have a few activities available for Blizzardfest spectators.
“They’re going to have some yard games with the beer tent,” said Justin Andre, Director of Operations for Grayling Recreation Authority.
Hanson Hills Recreation Area will host the 2020 Big Air Competition at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 9. The event is open to skiers and snowboarders.
This year, Blizzardfest is adding Grayling Main Street as a partner, and the program will be offering several new events for the winter festival.
“They approached us. They wanted to tie in, partner up,” Andre said.
“This year we are introducing a new event to Downtown Grayling, the Downtown Blizzardfest,” said Rae Gosling, Grayling Main Street Program Director. “For years, Hanson Hills has hosted fun on the slopes each February; this year we want to extend the winter festivities to Main Street. Our downtown retailers will stay open a little later, the kids can race on sleds in the ‘I-KID-Arod,’ and we will be hosting the inaugural Outhouse Classic.”
Grayling Main Street Downtown Blizzardfest activities will be held on the 100 block of Michigan Avenue on Saturday, February 8.
The Downtown Blizzardfest Bonfire by the Sheriff’s Department will be held at 4 p.m. The Fish Fling and the “I-KID-Arod” Youth Sled Pull Race are both slated for 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Inaugural Outhouse Classic Race will start at 5 p.m.
For the Outhouse Classic, teams must build “a 3’x4’x6’ tall outhouse using wood, cardboard, and/or other paper products. Metal structures will be disqualified,” according to the list of rules posted by Grayling Main Street. Outhouses must have “push bars not to exceed 16 inches on each side” and they must be mounted on skis.
“Must have a toilet seat and a roll of toilet paper in the outhouse,” according to the rules. “We will provide a rider for the race.”
Teams consist of “two pushers” plus the provided rider. Cost to participate is $20 per team. According to Grayling Main Street, the winning team will get 50 percent of the total collected in registrations, so the more teams that enter, the bigger the prize.