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Bowling Green to host chilly celebration

The city of Bowling Green is hosting its ninth annual Chillabration festival on Feb. 10-12, which will involve three days of winter-themed activities at various locations throughout the town.

Some scheduled activities include the Ice Carving Demo, Chili and Soup Cookoff, Frostbite Fun Run, Two vs two Co-ed Snow Globe Soccer Tournament, I Heart Ohio Scavenger Hunt and Cookie Creations for Kids, according to the Chillabration’s public Facebook event, where a complete listing of activities and prices can be found.

“I think the event will be a good way to get college students out of their campus bubble and into the town community,” said third-year student Monica Gupta. “Personally, I’m most excited for the chili cookoff because my mom used to compete in them.”

The winter fest serves as a way to bring the University together with local businesses and Bowling Green High School, according to the Facebook event.

Director of Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Kristin Otley has had a central role in planning this year’s Chillabration and provided details regarding the event’s formation and projected schedule of activities.

Otley answered questions about new events, Chillabration history and community favorites.

What would you say is the purpose for this event?

Usually by about mid-February, the weather is really cold and dreary. The purpose of the winter fest is to give people something fun to do outside and to help cheer them up.

When did planning for this event begin?

We had a core committee that started immediately after the event from the previous year to evaluate what worked well and what didn’t. Planning began in earnest late in the summer.

Where is the funding coming from?

We didn’t have an official city budget for this event. We’ve been fortunate in the sense that community groups and local businesses take on their own events, which will be located all around Bowling Green. Sponsorship dollars pay for things like the Chillabration tent and the ice sculptures. We also have some fundraising events; for example, net proceeds from the Frostbite Fun Run will go to the Camps for Kids program.

Are there any new events this year that weren’t included last year?

The biggest thing this year is the tent in the Huntington Bank parking lot, which is completely brand new. People have been asking for a tent with music, beer and wine, and this is the first year that has come to fruition. It will be entirely funded by sponsorship dollars.

When was the town’s winter fest tradition started?

We organized our first winter fest nine years ago.

Which activities are typically the most popular?

Some of the popular events included the ice carvings, horse and carriage rides and, especially, the Frostbite Fun Run, because it’s one that families can do together.

What are some kid-friendly activities on the schedule?

In the past we’ve had the Kids’ Snow Games, which has been revamped into the Kids’ Cookie Creation for this year.

What are some events you expect to be popular among college students?

Well, merchants and restaurants downtown will have the opportunity to offer specials called Snowtastic Savings, so I’m hoping that college students will take advantage of that. I also expect students to be interested in some of the events at the ice arena with everything going on there for the 50th anniversary celebration.

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