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Lake Geneva Winterfest safety provisions outlined; one-way foot traffic and masks
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Lake Geneva Winterfest safety provisions outlined; one-way foot traffic and masks

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Several safety measures have been put in place for this year’s Winterfest to help reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus.

Winterfest is scheduled to be held from Feb. 3 through Feb. 7 in downtown Lake Geneva.

The highlight of the week-long event is the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship; however, other scheduled activities include the Cocoa Crawl, downtown ice sculpture tour, bonfires on Riviera Beach and fire and ice bar.

Deanna Goodwin, marketing director for VISIT Lake Geneva— host organization for Winterfest— announced some of the safety measures that have been put in place for this year’s event during the Jan. 6 Lake Geneva Business Improvement District Board meeting.

Goodwin said the snow sculpting competition will feature 12 teams this year instead of the usual 15 teams. The competition will include snow-sculpting teams from Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Colorado, New York, Alaska and Florida.

Seven teams will be building their sculptures at Flat Iron Park, and another five teams will have their sculptures at the Riviera plaza.

Goodwin said there will be a one-way entrance area at both locations for people to view the sculptures.

“That way there will not be a lot of cross traffic,” she said.

The snow-sculpting teams also will be set about 6 feet back from the spectator viewing areas.

“We want to be cognizant of their safety, as well,” Goodwin said.

Face masks will be recommended but not required. Goodwin said several vendors will be selling Winterfest face masks during the event.

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“We can’t mandate it, because it will be outdoors but we will recommend it,” Goodwin said.

Officials from VISIT Lake Geneva will post videos of the snow sculptures being constructed on the organization’s Facebook page, so people who are unable to attend Winterfest will be able to view the sculptures.

“So people who are not comfortable coming to an event like this,— because it does get crowded— they can follow the progress of the sculptures online,” Goodwin said.

A new feature for this year’s Winterfest will be a vendor’s tent where people can purchase snack items and Winterfest-related merchandise.

“We’re not doing full-fledge food or things like that to compete with our restaurants,” Goodwin said. “So it’s nothing conflicting with our retailers downtown. Any food or drink is going to be like a snack. It’s really to tie people over until they can get to their sit-down meal at a local restaurant.

Laura Thompson, Business Improvement District Board member, proposed that VISIT Lake Geneva conduct a snowman-building competition for next year’s Winterfest, with the snowmen being located throughout the downtown area.

“It would bring people to look around at the snowmen, and it would bring them down to the other areas than just by the snow sculptures,” Thompson said.

Goodwin said the concept is similar to the festival’s ice sculpture tour— in which ice sculptors are placed near downtown businesses. However, she said a snowman-building competition could be a part of Winterfest next year or be featured as part of its own separate event.

Spyro Condos, president of the Business Improvement District Board, said a snowman-building competition could be held the weekend before Winterfest or during Valentine’s Day weekend.

“I like it,” Condos said of the snowman-building competition idea. “It’s something different.”

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