As Jack Frost’s frigid fingers glaze Devils Lake with ice and powder the landscape with snow, Tambrey Brossart, bundled up to her eyeballs and nestled in her grandpa’s arms, dangles a line into the water’s icy depths and waits for a fish to bite during the Devils Lake ShiverFest.
By Luann Dart
Freelance writer, Elgin, N.D.
As Jack Frost’s frigid fingers glaze Devils Lake with ice and powder the landscape with snow, Tambrey Brossart, bundled up to her eyeballs and nestled in her grandpa’s arms, dangles a line into the water’s icy depths and waits for a fish to bite during the Devils Lake ShiverFest. Despite the cold, 3-year-old Tambrey and her brothers, Joey, 10, and Jerry, 8, relish the annual ShiverFest, their father says.
“They enjoy the outdoors. Anytime they can get outside to play, they have fun,” says Nick Brossart, Rugby, a member of Northern Plains Electric Cooperative.
Playing in a winter wonderland
North Dakota is a winter dreamscape for young and old alike.
“It really is a winter wonderland,” says Kim Schmidt, North Dakota Tourism Division’s public and media relations manager. “It’s a winter playground with all the opportunities we have throughout the state. ... Absolutely, there’s lots to see and do.”
Looking for a winter trail to traverse? Glide along more than 50 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails within the park systems and golf courses throughout the state. Or scoot around on more than 1,800 miles of snowmobile trails in North Dakota.
And there’s some cool ice for skating, too. “If you’re looking for a great sheet of ice to have some fun on, you don’t have to look too far,” Schmidt says.
A cure for cabin fever can be found at some tailored events throughout the winter, too.
“There’s quite an abundance of activities taking place that embrace winter and encourage people to get out and enjoy it,” Schmidt says.
One of the state’s top ice fishing destinations is Devils Lake, where local residents celebrate winter with the state’s largest ice fishing tournament in January and the Devils Lake ShiverFest in February.
Warming up for ShiverFest
Launched in 2000, ShiverFest has snowballed into a hodgepodge of winter events coordinated by various local organizations and businesses every third weekend of February.
“The winter months are kind of a downturn for us. We get ice fishermen and that’s about it, so we wanted to take advantage of the lake and so we started a weekend with a hodgepodge of events. It’s all community-sponsored,” explains Suzie Baisch, executive director of the Devils Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Scheduled for Feb. 18-20 this year, ShiverFest events are held throughout Devils Lake, with several outdoor activities at Woodland Resort or Ackerman Acres.
ShiverFest events include:
• A mite hockey tournament for the little skaters
• A junior and bantam curling tournament
• An ice fishing tournament for the kids
• Kite flying
• Snowcross car races
• Golfing on the ice
• Snowshoe races
• A pond hockey tournament
• Sleigh rides
• A quilt exhibit
• A motorcycle show
• Woodcarving demonstrations
“It’s fun stuff to get kids outdoors and introduce them to winter sports,” Baisch says. “It’s nice to get outside and enjoy the day.”
For the fifth year, the Devils Lake Fire Department will coordinate the kids’ ice fishing tournament for youth up to ages 16. For a $10 entry fee, the first 100 entrants receive a tackle box, a fishing pole and a T-shirt. All the kids get a chance to drop a line through the ice and hope for a fish.
With 165 kids fishing last year, Fire Chief Jim Moe expects another good turnout in 2011.
“It’s a learning experience,” he says. “We want the parents to be involved as much as possible to teach the kids how to bait the hook and drop the line. We hope they have some fun with it.”
A veteran fisherman, Jerome Voeller, Rugby, fishes for walleye and perch in area lakes, and baited a hook at the 2010 ShiverFest with his grandchildren, Tambrey, Joey and Jerry Brossart, to introduce them to a sport he loves.
At the same event, Jarrod Stubbe, Devils Lake, introduced his sons, Quenten and Malcolm, to ice fishing for the first time.
“It’s North Dakota and it gets to be a pretty long winter and anything to break up the time and get some fresh air is good,” says Jarrod, a member of Nodak Electric Cooperative.
Clark Steinhaus, Devils Lake, a member of Northern Plains Electric Cooperative, is a ShiverFest staple with his horse-drawn sleigh, powered by a team of Percherons. He will be giving sleigh rides from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 19 at Creel Bay near Woodland Resort.
“It’s a great day,” says Lois Steinhaus, Clark’s wife. “I think ShiverFest is a great thing for the community. We live here, so we may as well enjoy it.”
As the landscape is draped with the white hues of winter, North Dakota’s outdoors still beacons.
“We definitely want to encourage people to get out and enjoy winter because, believe it or not, that season is short, too,” Schmidt says with a laugh.
Luann Dart is a freelance writer who lives near Elgin.
To learn more:
To learn more about ShiverFest e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (701) 662-4903 or (800) 233-8048.
To learn more about North Dakota winter activities, visit www.ndtourism.com and click on “what to do” and “winter activities.” You may also call (800) 435-5663 or (701) 328-252.
This article is reprinted by permission from the North Dakota Living magazine, January 2011 edition published by the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives.
Special thanks goes to J.C. Balcom, Production & Graphic Services Manager, North Dakota Living magazine and Kent Brick, C.C.C., editor North Dakota Living magazine.
Friday ShiverFest Schedule:
•Mikal Wakefield Memorial Mite Hockey Tournament - Burdick & Bill Jerome Arenas
•Junior/Bantam BonSpiel - Lake Region Curling Club
•Quilt Show - Quilt Essential, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday Shiverfest Schedule:
•Mikal Wakefield Memorial Mite Hockey Tournament - Burdick & Bill Jerome Arenas, all day
•Junior/Bantam BonSpiel - Lake Region Curling Club, all day.
•Youth Ice Fishing Tournament - Woodland Resort, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (tickets avail. at Fire Station or at the tournament site prior to the tournament.)
•Pond Hockey Tournament - Woodland Resort, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
•Sleigh Rides - Woodland Resort, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
•Ice Golfing - Woodland Resort 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
•Concessions - Woodland Resort, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (fundraiser for Foster Care & Adoption Coalition)
•Igloo Building - Woodland Resort, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
•Snowshoe Races - Woodland Resort 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. (fundraiser for Relay for Life)
•Kite Flying - Ackerman Acres, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
•Ice RallyCross - Ackerman Acres, 11:15 a.m.
•Motorcycle Show - Holiday Mall, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
•Woodcarving Demo - Holiday Mall, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
•Gun Show ($4 admission) - Memorial Building, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
•Home Based Business & Craft Show - Masonic Temple, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
•Quilt Show - Quilt Essential, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Open House & Refreshments from 1 - 4 p.m.)
•Fireworks Display - Woodland Resort, at dark
•Jam at the Cove with “Face For Radio” - The Cove, 9 p.m. - Midnight
Sunday ShiverFest Schedule:
•Pond Hockey Tournament - Woodland Resort, all day.
•Kite Flying, Ackerman Acres, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
•Motorcycle Show - Holiday Mall, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
•Gun Show ($4 admission) - Memorial Building, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.