Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 16, 2013

Cold weather won't stop festival fun


TRAVERSE CITY — Temperatures will hold well below freezing this weekend during the Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival.

Highs today and Sunday are predicted at 18 and 22 degrees, respectively, with "not much sun," said Tim Locker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

Additional snowfall is dependent on where a snow band developed overnight Friday, Locker said. Anywhere from "barely anything" to 8 to 10 inches of snow is possible.

"We're in a lake effect regime now, so there's a lot of variability," Locker said.

The weather prediction was good news for organizers of the comedy festival and National Cherry Festival's Winter WOW! Fest, which merged this year and planned the Free on Front activities.

Thursday's heavy snow helped workers sculpt a 10-foot-high sledding hill near Park Street.

Warming tents will provide relief from the cold, and families can sled, ride a Ferris wheel and then catch a break at a restaurant or shop, said Trevor Tkach, Cherry Festival executive director.

"I think what's really going to make this weekend special is people can go from outside to indoors and stay warm," Tkach said.

Mick Durocher walked along Front Street on Friday and said he was surprised to see a skating rink take shape and hear Front Street would soon bustle with a carnival-like atmosphere.

It'll be cold, "but the crowd will be fun," he said.