Lake Geneva’s 18th annual Winterfest returns

Above: The $100 bill called “Cold Cash Blues” won the People’s Choice Award at the 2012 U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition in Lake Geneva on Saturday. Upon noticing that Ben Franklin was crying, a lady in the crowd quipped, “He’s crying because it’s devalued.” The sculpture was done by a Wisconsin team made up of Tom Queoff, Mike Sponholtz and Mike Martino.

Lake Geneva will host more than 60,000 attendees Jan. 30 through Feb. 3 at the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition during the city’s Winterfest.

As the only nationally sanctioned snow sculpting event, guests will witness the lakefront be transformed into a walk-through gallery of 9-plus-foot-tall sculptures made of snow, water and ice.

“This must-see event brings together the elite of the elite in snow sculpting,” said President of the Geneva Lake Area Chamber of Commerce George Hennerley, “This remarkable ensemble of sculptures will truly enchant visitors. The level of detail and intricacy is on par with some of the finest items you’d find in the world’s best museums.”

Visitors will have an up-close view of the artists at work using only handmade tools. The sculptors will be busy perfecting their art beginning Jan. 30 and continuing until “shovels down” at 11 a.m. on Feb. 2 when judging begins. A panel of judges using the criteria of creativity, technique and message determine first, second and third places. Visitors to the event select a People’s Choice Award and previous winners choose a Spirit Award. Awards will be presented during a ceremony at 3 p.m. in the Riviera Ballroom on the lakefront.

 Additional activities

While awaiting the awards ceremony and the results, visitors can enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides and helicopter rides, live entertainment, warm beverages, refreshments and free activities for kids in the Riviera ballroom. Lake Geneva’s downtown will be filled with shopping, dining and planned in-store activities throughout the weekend.

An annual “Winter Carnival,” an entire day of winter activities tailored for families, will take place Feb. 2 on the grounds of the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa. The event, open to the public, will feature ski demonstrations, snowboarding and skiing competitions, children’s games, a nighttime torch light slalom and fireworks display.

Other nearby Lake Geneva area events includes a 5K and 10K run/walk.

Special lodging packages are available throughout the area for those wanting to catch every second of the action. The sculptures continue to draw visitors well after the event for as long as weather permits the sculptures to stand.

For more information on Winterfest, and to plan a winter getaway to the Lake Geneva area, go to

 About Lake Geneva

Nestled on the northeastern shores of Geneva Lake in southeast Wisconsin, Lake Geneva has been a resort community since just after the Civil War when wealthy Chicago families discovered the site and began building summer homes there. Today, the elegant, often historic estates still ring the lake and can be viewed from the water or by foot via the 20 plus mile walking path that circles the lake. Lake Geneva boasts a wealth of dining options and lodging choices with the latter ranging from luxury spa resorts to inns and B&B’s. The area also offers nature areas and other attractions.

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