Despite the bitter cold, residents of Port Huron banded together to celebrate the annual Chilly Fest. No, the spirit of festivities could not be defeated as participants enjoyed a weekend of ice sculpting, live music and shows, and of course chili.
“We offer a very low cost event to the community, and give a low cost event to everyone” Said Amanda Dickenson, co-coordinator of the event. “It’s a fun way to break up the winter months and give people a chance to get out and enjoy our beautiful community.”
Due to the beyond freezing temperatures and wind speeds, Friday’s events were moved into Mcmorran’s theater. Despite nature’s obstacle, morale was at an all-time high.
The event started off on Friday night with live musical performances of Port Huron’s own Cliff Erickson, who won yet another Port Huron audience over with his guitar covers, some of which included: “Toes in the Water,” and “Mrs. Robinson.”
“I love this city, I was born and raised here” said Erickson. “There’s amazing work being done behind the scenes here (at Chilly fest.) It’s a tough deal to put together something where people want to go to.” Erickson wasn’t the only local celebrity to enjoy the festivities; Mayor Pauline Repp was also in attendance.
“I think that they’re doing a great job, especially with the weather the way it is. It’s nice that they improvised and brought it inside for the concerts tonight with it being so windy… the whole thing should be very good” said Repp.
The night progressed with crowds warming up at the liquor bars and Starbucks stands, and ended with a live show of Metalhead’s tribute to KISS, face paint and all.
Saturday paid host to a slew of events going on downtown, some of which included: Face painting, downhill mattress racing, an ice museum, more live music, an ice bar, and of course the chili. The highlights of Saturday included Mark Rosenthal’s Animal Magic, and The Detroit Flyhouse Circus.
Mark Rosenthal put on an animal show and displayed several exotic animals to the audience, which included: An African Serval, The Giant Porcupine, a woodchuck, and the world’s largest sloth. After his show was finished, Rosenthal prompted his audience to buy his book, of which the proceeds go to his exotic animal rescue organization.
Spectators continued to enjoy themselves as the afternoon and evening progressed. All around downtown, families viewed ice sculptures and gathered around fire bins placed throughout town, roasting marshmallows while fighting off the bitter cold.
The Detroit Flyhouse Circus made an appearance, wowing crowds with dangerous acrobatics, treacherous sword juggling, strapping strong men and freaky fire eating. The crowds “oohed” and “ahhed” and some even gasped as they’re eyes were glued to the performers throughout the entire show.
The event was an apparent success as hundreds of local residents came out and risked the cold to show everyone that one does not need a sunny day on the beach to have fun.