Preparations underway for 2020 Michigan Ice Fest
Preparations for the 2020 Michigan Ice Fest are underway in Munising.
Held at Pictured Rocks National Park, it's the largest gathering of ice climbers, both beginners and pros, in the Midwest.
"This year is not going to be any different. We're on-par to get about 1,100 participants, coming from seven different countries and 28 states. They're all coming for a week of ice climbing here in Munising,” said Ice Fest Organizer, Bill Thompson.
Last year, Ice Fest saw more than 1,000 climbers. The event is largely geared towards helping beginners get into the sport.
In fact, demo gear is provided for anyone who wants to give the sport a try.
"We provide all of the equipment, we provide clothing for you to get out, and we also provide the athletes to teach you how to do it. It's a great way to shorten your learning curve and fall in love with something you've never tried before,” Thompson added.
Alger County has always been a destination for winter activities, but Alger County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Kathy Reynolds, says events like the Ice Fest are what makes the area unique.
"It's the uniqueness that I think makes the difference from everybody else. How are you unique from everybody else? This is pretty unique. You're not going to find this down the road, you're not going find it downstate or in Ohio, or wherever it may be,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds adds that the Ice Fest brings in a lot of business for local hotels and restaurants, contributing to Munising’s already-booming winter tourism.
"It's just extremely busy between ice climbers and snowmobilers, and people who are coming to see waterfalls or go snowshoeing and cross country skiing. It's just a really busy weekend in Munising,” Reynolds said.
The event also features various presentations, taking place at Gallery Coffee Company.
For a complete event schedule and to register to climb, click