Upcoming winter festival will be held downtown; Echo Lake events modified for lack of ice

By Jason Arndt


Burlington Hot ChocolateFest organizers decided to move the annual event from Echo Park to Wehmhoff Square Park because of unseasonably mild weather.

The weather, according to Hot ChocolateFest committee member Stephen Quist, also resulted in modifications to the lineup.

“Due to the weather – it has been a little warm and there is no ice on the lake – so we are going to move everything downtown,” said Quist, adding the event will be reduced from three to two days, eliminating Friday’s schedule.

Hot ChocolateFest, which will be held Jan. 19 and 20, will still have plenty of activities for visitors.

Additionally, the venue change offers people a new opportunity downtown, Quist said.

“There is still a lot to do,” he added. “It is going to be a really good opportunity to come downtown and have something to do.”

Quist said both the chili cook off and hot chocolate walk will still be held, along with live music presented by WBSD’s Tom and Mary Gilding.

While some activities will return, Quist reports the Winter Artisan Faire scheduled at Mercantile Hall from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday is a new feature for 2019.

“One of the big things that we are doing is the Winter Artisan Faire,” he said. “The vendor spots filled up quickly and it is great for the public to come and check out.”

Event modifications

Since Echo Lake’s ice is not sufficient, organizers modified some of the activities.

Broomball, slated from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, will be moved from Echo Lake to a concrete surface near Wehmhoff Square Park.

Organizers decided to modify the kids ice fishing exhibit, creating a trough, where a contestant can win The Golden Ticket.

Open ice skating, however, was scrapped because of the conditions on Echo Lake.

“There is no way it will be safe by next weekend, so there will be no open skate,” he said.

To read the entire story, including a schedule of events, see the Jan. 10 edition of the Standard Press.