FORT WAYNE — With so many people stuck inside due to cold weather, the City of Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department encourages people to get moving.

One way to accomplish this is by attending the 11th annual Winterval event on Jan. 29. Various activities will occur at approximately 14 locations throughout downtown Fort Wayne, such as Science Central, Old Fort, Foellinger-Friemann Botanical Conservatory and the Allen County Public Library.

According to Manager of the Community Center Patti Davis, COVID-19 permitting, there will be more attractions this year than last year, as it was reduced to strictly outdoor events due to the pandemic.

The first new feature that Davis mentioned was the Warm Heart Market located at the Community Center, 233 W. Main St. Approximately 30-40 vendors are expected to be in attendance, and the event will run 12-5 p.m.

“It’s going to be an indoor and outdoor market with handmade and uniquely hand-crafted Items,” Davis said. “That will be in the afternoon. So we are currently taking vendor applications for that.”

That application can be found at fortwayneparks.org/programs/winterval.html under the Warm Heart Market section.

Another new attraction is the Heartland Mushers at Headwaters Park from 1-4 p.m.

“They will have the dogs out there doing some runs and demonstrations,” Davis said.

The Winterval Beer Trail, a fan-favorite activity, is returning. According to the Winterval website, the beer trail highlights 14 local breweries and their seasonal beverages. Participants can obtain a passport, visit all 14 locations before Winterval and turn in their passport at the Community Center during the Winter Carnival from 1-4 p.m. to receive a prize package.

Passports are now available at participating breweries, the Community Center and the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation main office, 705 E. State St.

Live ice carving events will be held at:

• Foellinger-Friemann Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St., 10 a.m.

• Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, 12 p.m.

• Community Center, 2 p.m.

The ice sculptures will be created by Ice Creations of Napolean, Ohio.

Davis estimates that about 18 ice sculptures will be placed throughout the downtown area.

From 1-4 p.m., there will be a Winter Carnival with a nine-hole miniature golf course featuring winter sculptures. A candy luge will be available as well for children. Both attractions are free to attend.

Davis perked up when she spoke about the candy luge.

“It’s a great opportunity for the kids,” Davis said. “We will have these tubes that will come down from the top floor. Kids will draw a number, and that’s the bag of candy they give them. We’ll drop it, run it through the luge and the kids have to catch it with bags. It should be interesting.”

People can also go for a carriage ride at the Community Center or ice skating at Headwaters Park.

A couple of free hikes will be taken that day — one in the morning and another at night. The Winterval Hike and Bonfire will take place from 9-10:30 a.m. at Lindenwood Nature Preserve, 600 Lindenwood Ave.

The Winterval Stargazing Hike will happen from 7-8 p.m. at the same location. Registration is required for this hike for planning purposes and must be completed by Jan. 21. All ages are welcome.

Penguin ambassadors will be on some street corners downtown, guiding people from location to location. A punch card will be provided so people can take them to different places so the ambassadors can punch their cards for a chance to earn prizes. They can be turned in when the participant is finished.

COVID precautions will be in place and could change closer to the event.

“Anything inside city property, we still have the mask mandate,” Davis said. “All of the park-sponsored events will have sanitation stations. If it keeps increasing like it is, it will be emphasized more and more. We’re very conscious of that throughout the Parks Department.”

For updates, Davis said to visit the Winterval Facebook page or the park website at fortwayneparks.org/programs/winterval.html.

“The whole purpose of Winterval, this is the 11th year for it, is to get people out of the house in the wintertime and be active,” Davis said. “I would definitely say we’ve stayed with that mission here for the 11 years. We are looking to increase every year. We are always looking to expand and add more programs.”

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