Sleet and snowstorms aren’t stopping St. Peter from making the most of the cold weather.
The St. Peter Chamber of Commerce is kicking off the 19th annual Winterfest on Friday, Jan. 27 with the annual medallion hunt. Each year, the Chamber hides the medallion in a secret location and releases a clue every day (posted on stpeterherald.com) until the treasure is found. The lucky hunter that finds the medallion will receive $1,000 in Chamber Bucks.
Winterfest’s opening ceremony starts at 5 p.m. outside the Chamber of Commerce. The event features a bonfire, hot chocolate, s’mores and much more is being planned up until the day of.
Attendees should keep an eye out for John Rolette’s missing paperwork which would have made St. Peter the capital city of Minnesota. Whoever finds the documents will get to read the first clue in the Medallion Hunt. The clue will be posted to Facebook as well at 6:01 p.m.
The Medallion’s location is Winterfest’s most guarded mystery, known only to the hiders or — as Chamber President Ed Lee calls them — the Medallion Rapscallions. The prize could be located at any one of St. Peter’s public parks. It could even be right under the noses of the opening ceremony attendees like in last year’s Medallion Hunt.
“You just never know what’s on the clever minds of the hiders,” said Lee.
Fortunately, hunters have clues to help guide them — posted every day at 6:01 p.m. after the Winterfest Opening Ceremony. Community members should also be on the lookout for daily blog posts on stpeterchamber.com, which provide readers with tips on Medallion hunting and information on the Medallion’s whereabouts in previous years.
“It doesn’t offer clues, but it offers trends,” said Lee. “It will tell you where the Medallion has been hidden. It will tell you that, if it’s a year without snow, you might want to look for a glove or a fast food bag or something that would conceal it.”
Over a half-dozen events are slated for this year’s Winterfest. On Jan. 28, Royal Family Kids is hosting a cornhole tournament and fundraiser at the St. Peter Community Center. Proceeds benefit the Royal Family Kids Camp for children that have been abused, abandoned or neglected.
Adults 21 and over are invited to head to the Veterans Park Ice Rinks from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 3 for Minnesota Nice Night. The event features food, drinks, a bonfire, skating (guests must bring their own skates), snowshoeing and more.
Families can visit the ice rinks the following morning on Feb. 4 from 10 a.m.to 1 p.m. for Snow Day in the Park. Try out frisbee golfing in the snow, snowshoeing and enjoy the bonfire and music.
Also on Feb. 4 at 12 p.m. is one of the linchpin events of Winterfest: the Polar Plunge. Participants can register to dive into the freezing waters of Hallett’s Pond at plungemn.org/events/st-peter.
So far, 141 people have registered to take the plunge, raising $10,000 out of the current $80,000 goal for Special Olympics Minnesota. The St. Peter plunge has raised $1.1 million over 17 years and is backed by local law enforcement agencies, including the Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office, St. Peter Police, Fire and Ambulance and the Nicollet Fire Department.
The pre-plunge check-in is on Feb. 3 between 4-6 p.m. at Johnson Hall in the Nicollet County Fairgrounds and the day-of plunge check-in is on Feb. 4 at 11 a.m.
“It brings so many people, hundreds of people to town from other places who want to experience cold water,” said Lee. “...We love it when that happens because they do get downtown, they do see our town and this a great way to showcase it.”
River’s Edge Hospital is hosting the annual Winter Walk around the healthcare campus at 11 a.m. on Feb. 11. Participants are encouraged to meet inside the hospital at the main entrance off of Sunrise Drive. Cookies and hot chocolate will be served.
Then at 1 p.m. community members can embark on the poker walk through St. Peter establishments like the Red Men Club and Patrick’s. Participants visit each establishment to collect cards for a poker hand.
The last, but not least, event of Winterfest is the Dad’s Belgian Waffle Breakfast by the St. Peter Lion’s Club on Sunday, Feb. 12 at St. Peter American Legion Post 37. The breakfast is a chance to enjoy a hearty meal of waffles, sausage, juice and coffee from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Friends of Learning Back to School Project.