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Dog sled race

at Grand Haven Winterfest.

Photo: Kevin Ryan

COOPERSVILLE’S OUTHOUSE 500: Skid Marks Guaranteed


WINTERFEST Among all of the snow-time festivals, Grand Haven’s Winterfest stands out for the Intergalactic Human Sled Race. Competing teams consist of six people, which breaks down to four brawny pullers, one enthusiastic musher and a brave rider, who then race down main street in color- ful sleds, provided by the festival. Second best is the Hamster/Gerbil Race. Bring your pet and toy hamster/gerbil ball to race against other little critters. Other contests include the much calmer snow angel contest, the family dog pull and a polar plunge (reserved for true Michiganders who are crazy enough to jump in frozen water). Also notable is the annual luau, which flouts the tem- perature outside with a heated tent and tropical oriented festivities, including coconut bra wearing men and ladies decked out in colorful leis. Grand Haven / Jan. 26-29 /

ROCKFORD ICE FESTIVAL Experience Rockford’s ode to all that is ice

this winter. 2012’s Ice Festival is the third and potentially biggest to date. Take for example the attempt to break the world record for the longest ice cream sundae bar, which will be held on Saturday, Jan. 14 from noon until 2 p.m. It’s a simple way to be a part of history in the making. But of course, the stars of this festival are the ice carvings, which will be placed throughout downtown Rockford. In addition to ‘Oohing’ and ‘Ahhing,’ at the sculptures, visitors can also interact with the art. Go on an ice sculpture scavenger hunt or get competitive on a miniature golf course made out of ice sculptures – be sure to vote for your favorite hole design at the end. For the inquisitive types, there will be four hours of sculpting demonstrations. In addition, there will be live entertainment, interactive sports, a can drive and let’s not forget the cherry on top: free hot chocolate. Downtown Rockford / Jan. 13-15 /

hen cabin fever brain-rot reaches critical mass in West Michigan, Coopersville residents find release in a special event reserved for the completely demented. Now in its eighth year, Outhouse 500

flushes away the winter funk with its tongue-in-cheek festival. The event culminates in a bizarre exhibition of latrine locomotion – teams

of eager poo-pushers from all squats of life face off in a series of drag races, run- ning their handmade crapper-cabins-on-wheels down a stretch of Coopersville’s Main Street to the finish line. Each Outhouse 500 chamber cart is

OUTHOUSE 500 Downtown Coopersville

uniquely designed, balancing functional en- gineering, decorative flair and loads of potty puns.

Outhouse 500 began with a search to

shake the dead of winter and bring awareness to downtown Coopersville with a unique, innovative event that reflected the identity of the Coopersville community said LeeAnn Creager, Coopersville Farm Museum director. “Outhouses are part of our rural history. Every farm had an outhouse, so

the outhouse is truly is a rural icon. We wanted an event to be a wacky, fun, silly thing to do,” Creager said. Phil Cok, Coopersville Chamber of Commerce president suggests

Coopersville’s neighbor may have also impacted the decision to go with a bawdy poo-party like Outhouse 500. Ottawa County Farms Landfill and its hanging, tangy refuse stench lurk just beyond the horizon of I-96. Prior to the race, contestants gas up on highly combustible energy at Fuel

of the Outhouse 500, a homemade chili cook-off at the Coopersville Farm Museum. Other foul activities to fill out the day include a toilet seat decorating contest, 5K run, diaper drive, an outhouse grand floral parade and live music. Cok recalls some of the best entries of previous years as a Harry

Potter-themed Hogfarts Harry Potty, The Yooper Pooper Group and a holy crapper-chapel escorted by local church members dressed as nuns.

Adventure Races By Tyler DeJong

Richmond Winter Rush Richmond Park 1101 Richmond Street NW, Grand Rapids Jan. 28 Individual: $25, sign up by Jan. 23

Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race:

Winter Edition Cannonsburg Ski Area in Belmont Feb. 11 $50-$55

warmer and snowsuit-up for a quest over the river, through the woods and way past Grandma’s house. Adventure races are designed for two- person partner teamwork, integrating “Amazing Race”-style challenges, map reading and compass use for a full mind and body challenge. Grand Rapids Urban Adventure and Richmond Park Winter Rush are bringing the added elements of snow and ice to push you in new ways for this exciting winter activity. Most of the challenges are kept secret for the big race, but expect to be flying down snow hills in inner tubes, building things with snow, throwing snowballs and navigating wooded terrain to reach checkpoints. Anybody with a good bill of heath should be able to com- plete most challenges, and various levels of skill will be available for the ambitious.


t’s time to flush that sludgy blood from your icy winterized veins. Peel yourself from the cozy armchair, put down the chai latte hand

Feb. 25, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. FREE!


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