INTERLOCHEN — Skate on a flooded field, experiment with printmaking, catch a dance performance or gypsy jazz concert or munch on s’mores by an outdoor fireplace.
Those are some of the dozens of activities visitors can experience at the first WINTERLOCHEN Arts Day, Feb. 22 at Interlochen Center for the Arts and the surrounding area.
The day-long family event is a sort of arts crawl meets winter festival, said Chris Gruits, executive director of the center’s year-round performance program Interlochen Presents. It combines indoor and outdoor activities for all ages, free student performances and plenty of local food, from ice cream to food truck fare.
“We really wanted to invite people from the Grand Traverse community to come to Interlochen and see what happens in the winter,” said Gruits, adding that visitors can navigate the festival with the help of volunteers, signage and a schedule of events including a map of the campus. “Everyone thinks of Interlochen as a summer center, but this gives them a chance to discover Interlochen at a really beautiful time of year. We also saw it as an opportunity to showcase the broader Interlochen area.”
Visitors can tour portions of the center's 1,200-acre campus with student ambassadors or take part in hands-on activities including metalsmithing and percussion. They also can enjoy outdoor games like the Frozen Fish Toss or Toilet Seat Horseshoes, both put on by WINTERFEST partner, the Interlochen Chamber of Commerce.
“Our president, Laura Turmel, saw toilet seat horseshoes at a Benzie County winter festival and thought it was a hoot,” said Chamber director Kerri Clark. “It adds a funny, ‘up north’ flavor to the day.”
She said the Chamber scrapped plans for its own debut winter event this year after Interlochen approached it about joining forces for the inaugural WINTERLOCHEN.