Traverse City Record-Eagle


February 16, 2014

Laughing Off Cabin Fever

TRAVERSE CITY — Ally Gilbreath paused for a moment before she stepped off a platform more than 35 feet in the air.

Then a whoosh through the bracing cold and then back to earth.

“I was scared when I was at the top,” Ally, 13, said of the new zip line at the Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival. But she went right back at it, and so did her sister, Katie, 9, who smiled as she sped across the line.

The zipline was one of the new, free activities on Front Street at this year’s festival. The festivities extended further along the downtown’s main artery this year, which allowed for more family fun, including a Ferris wheel, mini-golf, an ice rink and a sledding hill.

“It’s something to do on a Saturday when you have cabin fever,” said Janell Callahan, a Traverse City resident.

The activities were so popular that lines snaked around the street much of the day.

“We wanted to have some fun as a family,” said Kelly Olson, a Traverse City resident who waited with her husband and two children for the Ferris wheel.

The carnival ride is a favorite for the Turner family of South Boardman.

“We came outside because it was nice out,” Amanda Turner said, while she watched her children, Liam, 4, and Tristan, 6.

Dogs were just as likely to be bundled up as kids. Jack, Callahan’s miniature pinscher, was able to enjoy the festivities from his owner’s arms, at least until he was entered into a race.

Barking blended with human voices, especially in the morning, when many canine companions competed in the Monster Dog Pull.

Man’s four-legged friends dragged a weighted sled across a length of snow.

Comedian Fred Willard resurrected his role in the cult comedy Best In Show and offered commentary at the event, during which some of the dogs veered off course.

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