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Winona Winter Carnival promotes community, outdoor recreation

Winona Winter Carnival promotes community, outdoor recreation

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Despite Saturday’s temperatures approaching zero, members of the Winona community got outside to Goose Bump Jump in the Big Lake for charity, snowshoe race by Holzinger Lodge and bond as a community while participating in the annual Winona Winter Carnival.

Events for the Winona Winter Carnival took place in various areas throughout Winona Friday through Sunday.

On Saturday morning, the Valencia Arts Center hosted winter-themed art workshops for children in kindergarten through fifth grade at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. At the 10:30 a.m. workshop, 15 children gathered for print and snowflake making.

Art teacher Brianna Haupt demonstrated how to etch a design in Styrofoam, roll ink on the stencil and press it on a piece of paper to create a print. When she pulled the paper from the stencil to reveal a freshly-inked snowman, Mia Bagniewski, 5, turned to her mom, Megan Bagniewski, MCA administrative assistant, with mouth agape, eyes wide.

After Mia printed her design — a snow hill — she set to work on making paper snowflakes. She folded a small piece of light blue paper and carefully cut out a geometric design.

“Look, Mommy!” she said after each creation. “I wanna make another one.”

Across town at the Lake Lodge, a large group gathered at noon for a Minnesotan tradition: jumping in a freezing lake on a frigid winter day for charity. The proceeds from this year’s Goose Bump Jump will benefit the Winona Park & Recreation Scholarship fund.

For exchange student Juliette Billy of Nice, France, the Goose Bump Jump is an essential part of visiting the Midwest. She jumped in with her host dad, Carew Halleck.

“It’s a Minnesotan experience. You can’t go to Minnesota and not do that,” she said. “Oh, I can feel my toes now.”

For jumper Alex Bilski, jumping in freezing waters is a fun family cabin tradition. He estimates he’s jumped in lakes in the winter at least 20 times — maybe 30.

“The water’s warmer than the air. Any day like that is a good one,” said Bilski.

First-time jumper Lon Lonskappel said waiting to jump in was the worst part. After he hit the cold water, he said he ran the first few steps and then thought, “Oh, well.”

“It was just like swimming the first time of the year,” Lonskappel said.

At the Holzinger Lodge at 1 p.m., 20 people in snowshoes prepared for the third annual snowshoeing 5k race, with racers from as far as Ann Arbor, Mich. Avery Prondzinski, part of the Outdoor Education and Recreation Center, which organized the event, said winter carnival events promote community and encourage people to be outside in the winter.

“Even on a day when it’s, what, eight degrees? You can still get outside,” he said.

Prondzinski also added that donations from local groups such as the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, J.R. Watkins, Beno’s Deli and Ground Round prove that there are “a lot of ways to take part in recreation via local businesses” in Winona.

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