New Winter Festival Coming to Clinton, Iowa and Fulton, Illinois February 2-4, 2024

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Embrace The Winter is a Community and Fine Arts Festival offering over 50 events and activities over 3 days throughout Fulton, Illinois and Clinton and Camanche, Iowa. A continually updated list of confirmed events is available on Facebook at facebook.com/EmbraceTheWinterFestival

“We will have something for every age, stage, and walk of life,” said Lesley Webster, Director of Placemaking & Tourism, who promotes tourism for both Clinton, Iowa and Fulton, Illinois. From family friendly snowman building, to a student art show, to an age 21+ game of extreme Capture The Flag, events are designed to appeal to everyone. Webster said the three day festival was intentionally scheduled the same weekend as Clinton Community College’s 4 mile run called B-rry Scurry. “It is the 43rd anniversary of B-rry Scurry and we know that they run no matter the weather, so it seemed like a good fit to build activities around this race.”
Events kick off Friday night with two main events. Friday Night Lights will bring bonfires to the downtown areas, with fire rings located along Fulton’s 4th Street and Clinton’s historic downtown on 5th Avenue South as well as Main Street in the Lyon’s Neighborhood. Each location will be hosted by a local church or non-profit agency who is providing and maintaining the fire. “I believe these groups are the lights of our community, and this is an opportunity for them to literally bring light and warmth,” said Webster. Organizations that would like to host a fire ring can contact Webster to sign up for one. The bonfires will be available from 4:30-6:30 pm that evening, with local stores encouraged to stay open late.

Immediately following that, everyone is invited to gather at the riverfront for the 7pm “Community Glow”. Luminaries will line the riverfront sidewalks in Fulton’s windmill district and in the area of Clinton’s Sawmill Museum on the north end. Attendees are asked to bring glow sticks to light on a given signal, and then both communities can celebrate with each other across the river. The tourism department of the Grow Clinton offices has applied to set an official World Record with this event. “Unfortunately, the turn around time for Guiness World Record paperwork is longer than expected, so this year will just be practice,” said Matt Parbs, Vice President of Grow Clinton. “But that’s great because we can figure out the details so that we’re ready for the official record attempt next year.” The first 1500 attendees at each location will receive a free glow stick to use for this gathering.
Saturday’s key events include the 43rd annual B-rry Scurry at 12 noon. This event raises funds for Clinton Community College’s Paul B. Sharer Foundation to provide scholarships. The race after-party will occur at Legend’s Sports Bar & Grill in Clinton. 

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Also on Saturday, the Mississippi River Eco-Tourism Center located in Camanche, Iowa will be open from 8am-2pm, offering snow shoeing, cross country skiing, and more. More snow fun is available at DeImmigrant Windmill in Fulton, where the millers will be hosting sledding, hot chocolate, and tours of the first floor of the windmill. And if people would like more frosty fun, they are invited to build snowmen on the properties of the local public library branches. (It is also National Bring Your Child To the Library Day.) All of these snow activities are free to participate in.

Another Saturday hot-spot will be the Eagle Point Lodge in Clinton. Free entrance to the lodge will allow you to enjoy a student Art Show, live music from local groups, and the opportunity to view the Clinton County Walk of Fame. Students who would like to participate in the art show must get an art instructor or school teacher to register them, but there is no cost to do so. Details can be found at facebook.com/events/380925657851585

Saturday night’s big event will be an age 21 and up game of Ultra Mega Capture The Flag, played in Heritage Canyon. “It will be in the dark, in the cold, in Heritage Canyon, and it’s going to be awesome,” said Webster. “I grew up playing this game at summer camp and I think adding these extreme conditions is the perfect way to bring the game back for all those Gen X and Millennials out there who remember it from their childhood.” She added that people who have never played it are welcome too, and details on both the game and registering for it can be found on the Facebook event page. CrossFit Scorch is helping to sponsor the event by providing team coach’s who will help each group develop strategy and stay safe. A party bus shuttle will be available that evening with stops at Wild Rose Casino & Hotel, Legends Bar & Grill, and Heritage Canyon.

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Sunday’s events will include multiple sports events with details continuously updated on the Facebook event. “I am working with Tanner from Rival’s Sports to put together a sports tournament of some type,” said Webster, “and Parks & Rec is looking at what they can host in their facilities.” The entire community is also invited to bring their bicycles out for a Slip & Slide Bike Ride, meeting at the Jensen Oil & Bicycle Station at 12pm. Parbs added “This is the perfect opportunity to try out all the crazy things you never try on your bike. I’ll be out there with my tricycle too!” Sunday evening will conclude with a community wide Candlelight Memorial Service. Details on that location are still being worked out and will be available online.

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To get signed up as a fire ring host or to add your event to the promotion list, contact Lesley Webster at [email protected] or [email protected]. Promotional materials may be picked up at Grow Clinton offices located at 721 S 2nd Street in Clinton.

Information links:

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Embrace The Winter: https://www.facebook.com/EmbraceTheWinterFestival 

Student Art Show: https://www.facebook.com/events/380925657851585

Ultra Mega Capture The Flag: https://www.facebook.com/events/1069583340848943 

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