Fireworks, snowmobile racing, live music highlight Lakeview Winterfest

Tamarack Lake will host more than 100 snowmobile racers and fans Feb. 22 to 24 as part of the village’s annual Winterfest. The event also features a beer tent with live music Friday and Saturday night, food booths, and a fireworks show Saturday evening. — Courtesy photo

LAKEVIEW — Anyone searching for a way to beat the winter blues need look no further than Lakeview’s annual Winterfest, slated for Feb. 22 to 24. The event is more than just a way to forget winter, though; it’s a chance to celebrate the best of the season.

Outdoor winter sports will be represented throughout the weekend in the form of an ice fishing tournament, snowmobile racing and shows, and even a vintage snowmobile swap meet.

The fun gets under way at 5 p.m. Friday, when the Lakeview Jaycees open the gates to their perennially popular beer tent, set up on the village’s downtown main street. In addition to the usual favored domestics, this year’s on-tap offerings include craft brews from Perrin Brewing.

Live music and dancing kick off at 8 p.m. with classic rock, blues and country band, The Guinness Brothers, appearing in the tent for the third year in a row.

The fun really heats up Saturday with a full day of vintage snowmobile racing on Tamarack Lake. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with racing getting under way at noon.

Also on Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. is an ice fishing tournament at Lakeside Park, sponsored by Tamarack Sports. Complete details for this event are available from Tamarack Sports at (989) 352-7527.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Lincoln Avenue between First and Second streets plays host to a vintage snowmobile show and swap meet. Parking, admission and “swapping” are all free of charge.

According to Jaycees member and event organizer Chad Lincoln, outside vendors will be on site, offering such hard-to-find items as early ’70s NOS Ski-doo parts.

Trophies will be awarded in various vintage categories from pre-1969 models though the ‘80s, as well as original and restored, ugliest snowmobile, best racing snowmobile, and best of show.

Also, radar runs on the lake will be held throughout the afternoon.

Finally, a vintage trail run will take snowmobilers on a 15 minute run out to the island and around the lake.

“Winterfest seems to get bigger and better every year,” Lincoln said. “Especially this year with the arrival of actual winter. BEVRA (Big Extreme Vintage Racing Association) racing is of course the main draw of the weekend.”

Recent, smaller races in Lakeview have drawn as many as 100 participants, so Lincoln is anticipating a great turnout for the Winterfest events.

The addition of the vintage snowmobile swap meet also is expected to bring in unprecedented crowds for the weekend. Vintage snowmobile enthusiast Art Hersey is promoting both the show and the radar run.

“Art says 70 miles per hour on a 30 or 40 snowmobile will turn your hair white,” Lincoln enthused.

For those who prefer their winter fun motor-free, the Lakeview Wildcat PRIDE Runfest committee will sponsor a “Pride Plunge” into the icy waters of Tamarack Lake. The event is being sponsored in part by Spectrum Health Lakeview Youth Clinic and Lakeview Wellness Center.

Proceeds from the plunge go toward Lakeview Community Schools athletic programs.

After a full day of outdoor activities, revelers will be able to warm up again in the heated beer tent, sponsored by the Lakeview Jaycees beginning at 5 p.m. Live music with The Guinness Brothers Band again gets going at 8 p.m. and runs to midnight. A $2 cover is charged and valid I.D. is required for admission.

One of Winterfest’s most popular events, a fireworks show — sponsored by All American Comm-unications in Howard City — also takes place Saturday evening over Tamarack Lake.

Finally, on Sunday, snowmobilers have one more chance to push their sleds to the limit with a 1,000-foot radar run on Tamarack Lake. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with racing getting under way at noon.

According to Lakeview Village Manager James Freed, Winterfest provides family-friendly fun for all.

“Winterfest is an all around family experience with something for all ages,” Freed said. “Watching the sled races on the lake, fireworks at night and live music at the hospitality tent proves to be fun for everyone. We are expecting record crowds again this year and the Lakeview Jaycees always do an excellent job planning the events.”

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