A fictional northwest Iowa institution opens its actual sports competition today, the University of Okoboji Winter Games . Erin Roe, spokeswoman for the Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, says more than 60 planned activities are being held outdoors in the brisk chill of the season — many of them on the frozen Lake Okoboji.
A putt-putt golf tournament will be held on the ice around sculpted objects made out of snow. Ice bowling is also on the list, along with hockey, broomball and softball. Roe says the weekend of events is expected to draw 40 to 45-thousand people, many of whom will be watching the wacky wintertime antics. She says flag football on the ice is one of the more comical events to watch as people are slipping and sliding all over to try and make plays.
Other entertainment on the agenda ranges from hot air balloon rides and a chocolate-tasting event to live music and a polar bear plunge. Roe says Saturday night’s activities will peak with what’s called "The Burning of the Greens" as hundreds of dried-out Christmas trees are piled in the center of the frozen lake and set ablaze.
Once the big bonfire is lit, the fireworks display will be launched, offering a warm and beautiful sight all at once. The Winter Games run through Sunday.