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.
“We just smacked our forehead and went, ‘That’s brilliant,’” said Clark, who hopes to introduce more visitors to everything from Interlochen’s businesses and arts scene to its 10 frozen lakes, snowy state park and network of ski trails. “Interlochen is particularly rich in opportunities for recreation but there's never really anything going on. Interlochen is just a cool area we all agreed needed to be highlighted a little more.”
Besides the Chamber, festival partners include the Interlochen Public Library and the Grand Traverse Senior Center Network's Interlochen satellite, which will kick off the festival with a pancake breakfast from 8-11 a.m. Interlochen State Park will host self-guided snowshoeing and cross-country skiing from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The event culminates with a 7 p.m. ticketed gypsy jazz concert by the Hot Club of San Francisco and French vocalist Isabelle Fontaine.
Gruits said everyone from Interlochen students to faculty and staff have caught festival fever and are getting in on the act.
“For students in the dead of winter it’s great to have another opportunity to perform for the public and showcase what they’ve been working on, to show off their campus and to interact with the community in a real way,” he said. “The food is a popular thing. They’re excited because most of the time they have to leave campus to get something different.”
For more information, visit interlochen.org/winterlochen.
8 -11 a.m. - Pancake Breakfast; Interlochen Public Library, 9700 Riley Road ($5, $3 seniors)
10:30 a.m. - Opening Fanfare, Frozen Fish Toss, Toilet Seat Horseshoes; Osterlin Mall
11 a.m. - Children's Storybook Readings; The Writing House Gyspy Jazz Concert; Corson Auditorium
11 a.m.-5 p.m. - Snowman Building, Snow Painting; Opera Field
S'mores; outdoor fireplace at The Writing House ($1)
Clay Projects, Metalsmithing, Printmaking, Felted sculpture for all ages; Dow Center for Visual Arts
11 a.m.-7 p.m. - Food Vendors; Mallory-Towsley Center for Arts Leadership (additional cost)
Self-Guided Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing; Interlochen State Park
Hands-On Percussion; Frohlich Piano & Percussion Building
Gallery Exhibit; Dow Center for Visual Arts
Face Painting, Kids Coloring; Mallory-Towsley Center for Arts Leadership
Ice Skating; Opera Field (bring your own skates)
Student Film Showcase; Deroy Center
Noon - Snow Pile Treasure Hunt; Opera Field
12:30 p.m. - Kids Theatre Showcase: "The Thai Tale"; Phoenix Theatre
Singer-Songwriter Concert; Dendrinos Chapel
2 p.m. - Singer-Songwriter Concert; Dendrinos Chapel
"Grimm's Fairy Tales, An Oral Interpretation Project;" Phoenix Theatre
Dance Performance; Dance Building
Frozen Fish Toss, Toilet Seat Horseshoes; Osterlin Mall
3 p.m. - Snow Pile Treasure Hunt; Opera Field
3:30 p.m. - Chamber Ensemble Concert; Dendrinos Chapel
Creative Writing Student Readings; The Writing House
Funk Band Concert; Fine Arts
Feature Film: "Rango" (rated PG); DeRoy Center
5 p.m. - Comparative Arts Performance; Phoenix Theatre
Dance Performance; Dance Building
7 p.m. - Hot Club of San Francisco; Corson Auditorium (tickets available at tickets.interlochen.org or by calling 231-276-7800 or 800-681-5920)
All events free, unless otherwise noted.