3 things to know about this year’s Frozen Assets Festival

Sixth annual event returns to Lake Mendota

MADISON, Wis. — It’s no secret Madison locals love our lakes. And this weekend, area families have a chance to celebrate them and help preserve them during the Clean Lakes Alliance’s 6th annual Frozen Assets Festival.

The festival doubles as a fundraiser for Madison lakes.

Last year’s event raised more than $150,000 for the Clean Lakes Alliance. The Alliance is a not-for-profit devoted to improving the water quality of Madison-area waterways. To date, the organization has invested more than $500,000 in the lakes.

This year’s event comes at a historically difficult time for lake lovers.

Lake Mendota didn’t officially freeze over until January 12, 2020. That’s just 18 days shy of January 30: the all-time latest recorded freeze. (The earliest freeze ever recorded happened 140 years ago, on November 23, 1880.) UW-Madison researchers warn we could stop seeing Mendota freeze over completely as early as next year.

Families can enjoy dozens of events during this weekend’s festival.

Friday night, the festival is offering something new called “Night Ice.” On the Grand Plaza at the Edgewater hotel, people can escape the winter blues with live music, themed bars, and full-size ice sculptures. Bars open at 6 p.m. The band begins at 7 p.m.

The majority of events will take place on Saturday.

At 10 a.m., runners and walkers will compete in the annual 5K entirely on a frozen lake. Participants will run or walk across the ice on iconic Lake Mendota with views of downtown Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The course starts and ends at the Edgewater. Register here.

Later in the day, the Edgewater will host a variety of free events, including Kites on Mendota with the Wisconsin Kiters Club, s’mores roasting, pond hockey, snowshoeing, curling demos, a skydiving ice jump with Seven Hills Skydiving, and much more. The activities run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Click here for a full schedule of events.