News Ports

Port Huron hosts Winter Wonderland in place of annual ChillyFest

Crowds of people gathered along Quay Street in Port Huron Saturday, roasting marshmallows over fire pits to make s’mores. A woman dressed as a winter fairy wove between them, talking with children and showing off her sparkly clothing.

Decorated snowmen made of foam lined Huron Avenue as children ducked into businesses looking for stuffed penguins as part of a scavenger hunt.

The annual ChillyFest, which was originally scheduled for Jan. 22-23, was postponed until 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its place, the city hosted Winter Wonderland, a family-friendly, one-day festival Saturday.

A decorated foam snowman stands outside of District 43 during Winter Wonderland Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, in downtown Port Huron.

Port Huron Downtown Development Authority Director Cynthia Cutright said the city is glad to be able to provide something after ChillyFest was canceled.

“We’re happy to see folks downtown even despite the cold and supporting downtown businesses,” she said.

The normal ice sculptures were replaced with artificial snowmen, which businesses decorated and used to line the sidewalks through downtown. A scavenger hunt that lead people to small treasures throughout downtown and a fuzzy penguin hunt replaced the annual events such as the Chili Cook Off, the PoHo Hot Cocoa run and bed races.

Decorated foam snowmen line the sidewalk outside of Casey's during Winter Wonderland Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, in downtown Port Huron.

While the crowds at ChillyFest tend to be more adult-oriented outside of the chili cook-off, Cutright said they were seeing a lot more families downtown during Winter Wonderland.

“Seeing the number of families up and down the street is pretty remarkable to see and I think that’s pretty encouraging to all of our businesses,” she said. “We are seeing a lot of walkers on the street and what matters to us is getting people down here and seeing all that downtown has to offer.”

Source link