Frostival aims to lure you with outdoor fun

The Frozen Fortress on Saturday, Jan. 29, offers outdoor activities for young and old, like these sledders on the hill near the Hjemkomst Center.

Nancy Edmonds Hanson

Moorhead Parks and Recreation and the Moorhead Business Association are laying a trap for summer-loving residents, with irresistible activities luring them outdoors in the weeks formerly known as “the dead of winter.”

There’s a lot of life going on over coming weeks amidst the drifts of Moorhead, as well as Fargo and West Fargo. Frostival 2022 is a collaboration spurred by the F-M Convention and Visitors Bureau, the cities’ parks departments and the MBA with the avowed intention of combating the notion that that our community is a frozen tundra.

More than 20 events take place in Moorhead between now and Feb. 13, when an open skate at the Cullen Hockey Center puts the finished touch on the festival. The city’s schedule starts Saturday on a traditional note – the 30th annual chili cook-off at the Moorhead American Legion. It’s open to the public, with judging at 2 p.m. and eating at 6.

But next week is the big one. From Thursday through Sunday, a long roster of fresh-air fun takes place, most of it centered around Viking Ship Park and the Hjemkomst Center.

The Red River Zoo leads a hike through Viking Ship and Riverfront Parks on Thursday, Jan. 27, in search of wildlife. Learn about the footprints they leave behind and their habitats. Pre-registration is required, along with a $10 fee; to sign up for the Winter Wildlife Excursion, like others requiring advance registration, go to

From 3 to 10 p.m., Harold’s on Main hosts the Moorhead Frostival Kick-Off on its patio, with complimentary hot cider and hot cocoa for kids and spiked versions for sale for adults. Fire pits will warm guests, along with games and karaoke.

Saturday is the busiest, with Viking Ship Park bustling with activities. The annual Frozen Fortress attracts visitors eager to work up a sweat from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Outside, participants can choose from the River Keepers’ snowshoe hike at 11 (remember, snowshoe rentals are free), Snowga (the frozen form of yoga) at noon, and Dance Attack at 1 p.m. Pre-registration is required for all three free activities.

Along with the group activities, the event features a snow slide, outdoor games, bonfires for roasting marshmallows (with s’mores ingredients and hot chocolate available free).

Inside the Hjemkomst, the Kiwanis are cooking up their annual Chili Plus fund-raiser, with meals available from 11 to 3. Those who come inside to warm up can also browse among sponsors’ booths. Admission to the museum is free to all comers.

Meanwhile, the MBA’s leading event takes place on the grounds. This year the annual snow-carving competition has been dubbed “Fargo Escapes (to Moorhead)” in honor of its main sponsor, the company that operates several escape rooms across the river. Judging will take place that day, with the public voting for their favorites from 11 to 3, but the winners won’t be announced until Tuesday, Feb. 1, during the Candlelight Trail Walk.

Two more tasty occasions wrap up the weekend. The Bottle Shop hosts the inaugural Great “Frostival Brew” Taste Testing Showdown from 4 to 7 p.m. Breweries from both sides of the river will be competing for the soon-to-be-coveted Great Frostival People’s Choice Award for the best-tasting new beer especially brewed for the occasion.

On Sunday, the American Legion conducts another contest near and dear to Minnesotans’ and North Dakotans’ hearts, the Uff Da—It’s Cold Outside Hotdish Competition. After the judging wraps up at 1 p.m., attendees will get to sample what the rest of America calls “casseroles” and, perhaps, second-guess the judges’ decision. A silent auction will take place, with proceeds going to the Veterans Honor Flight.

That night, law enforcement officers play a team representing Moorhead Youth Hockey. Fun but competitive, the 6:30 match generally ends with the teens triumphant. Here, too, there will be a silent auction on behalf of the Moorhead Police Athletics and Activities League

There’s more in the weeks to come. For the full schedule, go to

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