There’s good news for the 2008 Okoboji Winter Games. Many of the events this weekend in northwest Iowa will take place on actual ice and snow. Over the last two years, the ice wasn’t thick enough on West Lake Okoboji, so the events were moved to land.
Erin Roe, with the Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce, says the 28th annual games open Friday evening with a chili cookoff. She says around 2,000 people are expected to attend the chili cookoff at the Dickinson County Expo Building in Spirit Lake. Most of the activities are scheduled on Saturday, with three big events to be held on the ice.
Roe says broomball, softball and flag football are all played on the iced-over lake. "Which is very interesting," Roe says, "if you haven’t seen flag football played on the ice, it’s definitely a sight." There are also snowmobile races, volleyball games, the polar bear plunge and something called "The Freeze Your Fanny Bike Ride." Those who attend the Okoboji Winter Games tend to spend a lot of money at area hotels, bars and restaurants.
Roe says, "This weekend, historically, has been the best business weekend for business owners in the area." Conditions for the games are "ideal," according to Roe. Six inches of snow fell on Monday and temperatures this weekend are expected in the uppers 20s to low 30s.