Big Freeze, big breeze: Annual event sees new activities

Published 10:30 pm Sunday, February 4, 2018

Among the handful of new events added to the Big Freeze this year was a display by the Minnesota Kite Society, who staked out some airspace near the Edgewater Bay pavilion this year to put a 16-foot tiger kite into the sky.

A team of Waste Management workers take part in a blue ice plunge in Edgewater Bay as a part of the Big Freeze on Saturday. –
Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Ron Pegg with the Minnesota Kite Society brought five or six kites with him to the Big Freeze after being invited by the Big Freeze committee.

“We do a lot of stuff just like this,” Pegg said.

The annual Big Freeze took place along Edgewater Bay and in downtown Albert Lea on Saturday. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Susie Petersen said she invited group members after seeing a display in the Clear Lake community. She said the hope was to have “just a little color on the ice.”

Pegg has been in the kite society for close to 30 years, he said. This January and February are two of the busiest months he has seen. Despite perceptions that kite-flying is a summer activity, Pegg said the winter is a good time, too.

“In Minnesota, we call it the land of 10,000 kite fields,” he said. “That’s why we do it in the winter, because of all the lakes.”

Multiple groups and individuals decided to do the blue ice plunge multiple times. The group pictured took the plunge at least four times. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

The display was part of an effort to further expand the Big Freeze, Petersen said. The event also featured a first-time hotdish cookoff, a vintage snowmobile show, Super Bowl-themed crafts, the Lime Tree Circus, a bean bags tournament, live music and a fireworks display over Fountain Lake. The Big Freeze also continued with its established activities at Edgewater Bay pavilion, including a blue ice plunge and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Families also spent time taking pictures with Elsa from the movie “Frozen.”

“We want to continue to grow this,” Petersen said.

The Albert Lea Fire Department was on hand Saturday to assist those taking the blue ice plunge. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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