Sparta Quest Winter Fest kicks off this weekend


Put on your winter gear and get ready for a flurry of fun at Sparta Quest Winter Fest this weekend at Memorial Park.

There’s something for everyone in the family, from kids activities in the warming center, snow-shoeing and a family-friendly game of capture the flag, to educational experiences in candle-making and wood carving, a vintage snowmobile show and the Fat Tire Bike Race.

Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Heidi Prestwood says outdoor recreation is for all seasons.

“There’s lots to do outside and we don’t have to be stuck inside all winter,” Prestwood said.

People can go back and forth between Memorial Park and Whitetails at Fort McCoy, where there will be downhill skiing, tubing and snowboarding.

“We have a really great relationship with Fort McCoy, Whitetail and MWR (Morale, Wellness and Recreation),” Prestwood said.

Because it has a snow-making machine, Fort McCoy builds 4x4x6-foot snow blocks for the sculpting contest and trucks them to Memorial Park.

“It’s actually really cool to see them come in on the flatbed trailer, and we have city help to unload them and put them in place. … Each block takes about a half-day to make,” she said.

The snow sculpting contest begins at 4 p.m. Friday, and Prestwood encourages people to pre-register with the Chamber so there are enough blocks made.

Also at 4 on Friday is the lighting of the bonfire by the Army 10-miler Team, runners from the 88th and 181st Divisions following the Command Team in a Humvee down Water Street to Montgomery and then into Memorial Park with the opening of ceremonies by Mayor Kristen Gust and Prestwood.

An adult snow shoe race begins at 6 p.m., and the Fur Traders will have their teepees up to demonstrate candle making and wood carving. Food will be for sale, and the beer garden will be open from 4 to 8 p.m.

Saturday’s activities begin with the Junior Jack breakfast of biscuits and gravy or pancakes and sausage for $6 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. sponsored by the Eagles Club located inside the yoga studio.

New this year will be a family-friendly game of capture of the flag. Families are invited to come out and build their own snow forts to play this game at 1 p.m. The vintage snowmobile show registration starts at 9 a.m., with the show starting at 11.

Also beginning at 11 a.m., you can watch professional chainsaw carvers from Wisconsin Dells demonstrate their skills throughout the day. They will have carvings for sale as well.

The Fat Tire Bike Race will have a staggered start beginning at 11 a.m. New this year is the addition of a second, more terrain-involved course with a start at the golf course. The cyclist chooses their distance, and the best times out of the categories will receive a medal. There will be a limited number of fat tire bikes available to rent.

Food and the beer garden will be open all day on Saturday as well.

“One of my things is promoting outdoor recreation and to let people know we’re more than the bicycling capital,” Prestwood said.


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