Big Freeze is back in Albert Lea with all kinds of activities to enjoy

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, February 8, 2022

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By Alex Guerrero

Albert Lea’s annual winter festival The Big Freeze is in full motion, and Holly Karsjens, executive director for the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau, wants people to experience it.

“Just giving a way for the community to get out during the winter,” she said.

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The Big Freeze also serves as a way to collect food for the community.

The event started Monday with the medallion hunt sponsored by the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce. Also starting were the scavenger hunt, sponsored by Leach Law, and the open skating at Hayek, Lakeview and Hawthorne parks. The rinks will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. until Friday, but then stay open from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Many other events take place Saturday.

Saturday morning will start with a pancake breakfast from the Double O Tractor Club at 1623 W. Main St. The event, which runs from 7 to 11 a.m., raises money for the Albert Lea Salvation Army. Breakfast is $8, and the event is open to the public. Children under 10 can eat for free.

If pancakes aren’t enough, First Presbyterian Church will have a treat, hot cocoa and coffee drive-thru (until supplies last) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The drive-thru is sponsored by First Presbyterian Church of Albert Lea’s Youth Group.

You can also watch the three-on-three pond hockey tournament from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lakeview Park. Registration for the event is closed, but there will be a mini-doughnut truck on hand. The tournament is sponsored by TMJ Elite Fitness.

But if you’d rather get some exercise, Albert Lea Community Education is sponsoring a snowshoeing and snow chi event at Brookside Boathouse in Brookside Park. The event will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Cost is a nonperishable food item.

If you’ve already booked an appointment, don’t forget Elsa will be at Whimzy from 1 to 3 p.m. The event is already full.  

Fishers can participate in the Albert Lea Anglers event from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at City Beach. Minnows will be provided, and anyone is welcome to participate. Prizes will be given for the largest fish, and there will be raffles. Bring your own portable ice shelter.The cost is $5/hole, and the event is sponsored by Home Federal Savings Bank.

And Lost in Austin will play at 112 on Broadway from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. to end the day.

“The Big Freeze is a lot of different organizations or businesses [putting] on their own activities,” Karsjens said. “It’s really just a compilation of community activities happening over the day.”

There will not be a Blue Ice Plunge, but Karsjens is hopeful the event will return next year.