“Let the games begin!” adorned brochures, banners and minds at the 29th Annual Waukesha JanBoree winter festival this past weekend.
As snowflakes and temperatures fell, fireworks lit up the sky. Parents, children and volunteers were not deterred from participating in this year’s celebration.
Crowds lined up for hot drinks and food, while toboggans and snowshoes were carried uphill caked with snow.
“This is our fourth year and it’s been the best weather-wise,” said Bill Knopf, resident of Waukesha. “They’ve done a great job downtown. We normally see the ice sculptures, do the egg hunt and the husky pull.”
Featuring a wide array of events at various locations around the City of Waukesha, this year’s JanBoree offered plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for anyone at any age to enjoy.
“It’s an opportunity for families to get out for Wisconsin’s winter,” said Joanna Adamicki, coordinator of events with the City of Waukesha. “It [the JanBoree] is about creating a community event that’s free for everyone.”
Frame Park, Eble Park Ice Arena, Schuetze Recreation Center and Lowell Park hosted events such as a “bobsled” run at Lowell Park Hill's toboggan tracks. The run zipped to a 350-foot drop where sledders could race to score the best time.
“It’s faster than sledding,” said Brian Klug, 10, resident of Thiensville, Wisconsin. “You start higher up than sledding.”
This lighted sled run was open and free Friday, Jan. 17 through Sunday, Jan. 19. The toboggan run is normally open for the general public throughout Waukesha’s snowy season on Saturdays and Sundays from noon- 4 p.m., the cost is $7. Toboggan rentals are available for $8.
Festival goers who liked to slide, spin and skate donned on some water-proof pants and gloves to ice skate at Eble Park Ice Arena in Brookfield for a $5 skate on Saturday, Jan. 18. On Sunday, ice skating continued at Naga-Waukee Park Ice Arena in Delafield.
Schuetze Recreation Center showcased “pickleball”, a blend of tennis and ping pong played on a badminton-sized court. Everyone could watch a demonstration or participate in the sport.
If the chilly weather created icicles on your toes or your nose, the Waukesha Family YMCA offered hot chocolate or apple cider, cookie decorating, open swim and open gym. Racing around an indoor obstacle course from 3- 5 p.m. in the gymnastic center, was also available to fire up some warmth.
“Our pool is heated between 87 and 89 degrees,” said Sarah Millard, marketing and communications director at the Waukesha YMCA. “They [the participants] can have fun in our building and warm up from snow activities.”
Sunday’s winter games offered a cross-country skiing contest for kids and an ice fishing clinic. It also hosted a dog pull at Minooka County Park and ice bowling at Lowell Park.
An afternoon movie,“Miracle,” was planned for Schuetze Recreation Center.
The frosty fun did not end there. More events happened at other locations throughout the city.
If this weekend of winter fun was missed because of other commitments, stay tuned for next year’s 30th JanBoree.
“We [the sponsors of the JanBoree] think it’s important for kids. … It’s fun for everyone,” Millard said. “It’s a chance for the community to get fit and to have fun.”