Ice Fest will be ready for January thaw

Courier file photo by Keith R. Cerny With questionable ice conditions due to unseasonable warm conditions, organizers of the annual Rio Frio Ice Fest may have to resort to a dunk tank again this year for the popular polar plunge when the festival unfolds in Alamosa on Jan. 27-29. Alamosa City Manager Heather Brooks is shown getting ‘dunked’ at last year’s event.

ALAMOSA — The Valley’s normal January thaw may throw a damper on some of the activities upcoming just two weeks from now when the 14th annual Rio Frio Ice Fest returns Jan. 27-29.

With warmer daytime temperatures the Rio Grande has a lot of open water and probably won’t be suitable for the unique 5k race on a frozen surface. Organizers said the show will gone with a different race route that may include running on the Blanca Vista pond just north of town if ice conditions allow.

Those conditions could also impact a couple of Sunday activities, the popular polar plunge, ice carousel and ice skating on the pond. It will be a “game time” decision if those events are possible.

Organized by the City of Alamosa Parks and Recreation, Alamosa County Chamber of Commerce and “Visit Alamosa,” the ice fest committee chose “The 90s” theme to give the festival a whole new theme and look. Several 1990s related events are planned as well as ice sculptures depicting that era.

New this year will be an “air band” competition sponsored by the Alamosa Kiwanis Club Saturday afternoon on San Juan Avenue between Main and Fourth, headquarters for many events including the famous “Fire and Ice” bonfire at 7 p.m.

Festivities begin Friday night with race packet pickups at Milagros Coffee House at 6 p.m. and a cross country/luminaria ski event at Blanca Vista Park, again snow conditions permitting.

Race packet pickup continues Saturday from 8-9:30 a.m. at the Alamosa Senior Center in Cole Park, followed by the race start at 10 a.m. on the bordering Rio Grande. Race awards will be given at 1 p.m. on San Juan Avenue.

Ice carving demonstrations begin Saturday at noon downtown and the information tent will be manned from 12-3 p.m. at Main and San Juan Avenue. Weather permitting, the SOCO Ice Bowl disc golf tournament, will be from 12-2 p.m. Saturday at the disc golf course north of town.

The new “Rio Frio Flight” will offer drink and snack samples from 3-4 p.m. on San Juan, featuring a drink “luge”, carved from a block of ice, and possibly an “ice bar.”

Downtown merchants, restaurants and bars are planning to feature 90s music and possibly movies from the era and are encouraging attendees to wear their best 90s attire.

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