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Chamber puts Winterfest on one-year hiatus

Gabe Frederick, 8, of Hibbing throws a miniature curling rock Saturday during the fourth annual Winterfest on Lake Bemidji festival in February 2017. (Maggi Stivers | Pioneer file photo)1 / 2
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BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday that Winterfest on Lake Bemidji will take a one-year hiatus and return in 2019.

According to a press release from the chamber, the decision was based on a new permitting process, resulting in less time for event planners to organize the festival, which has been held in February the past four years on Lake Bemidji.

“It was not a decision that was easy for the Chamber board of directors to make,” the statement reads. “The Chamber plans to take the year and concentrate on this signature winter event, giving it the time it needs to be a successful draw for Bemidji. It plans to include the curling bonspiel, pond hockey classic and the Brrmidji Plunge as well as other events and of course the entertainment and warming tent.”

The chamber said that partner organizations with Winterfest may still hold smaller events on their own and encourages residents to check the Chamber website,, for updates.

According to Bemidji Jaycees member Larissa Donovan, the service organization still hopes to hold the Brrmidji Plunge this winter, but has not reached a decision on whether or not it will take place.

In addition to outdoor curling, pond hockey and the Jaycees’ Brrrmidji Plunge, Winterfest also included an ice fishing tournament, 5K and 10K runs and indoor activities, as well. Entertainment tents and warming tents are also part of the festival.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

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