JANUARY 26, 2022 – LAKE MILLS, WI: This year, Legendary Lake Mills’ annual Knickerbocker Ice Festival will feature a giant bar made almost entirely of – what else? – ICE!
Festival goers will be able to enjoy local craft beverages across a sculpted bar created by the same local group of men who built the highly publicized “IceHenge”, which received national and even international attention in 2015.
What will be served at The Ice Bar? Well, cold beer, of course, from Lake Mills’ own Sunshine Brewing Company and Tyranena Brewing Company, in addition to chilled wine from local winery, Lewis Station, best enjoyed near one of the lake-top bonfires while dressed in appropriate cold-weather apparel. This and other activities like a 9-hole golf tournament, softball tournament, fat tire bike ride and fisheree will all be hosted across the frozen waters of Rock Lake, assuming the ice is safe and solid.
“Of course, everything depends on the weather and ice quality. But the ice on Rock Lake is already 16 inches thick and this cold snap is only going to help things along,” said Kevin Lehner, one of the original five builders of IceHenge.
It’s even possible that IceHenge itself may make a return appearance this year… one simply never knows. As Lehner said, it will depend on the weather and ice quality…. And also how motivated this year’s crew of volunteer harvesters are when out in the cold! Event organizers are keeping their fingers crossed.
“Ice harvesting is what started this entire festival fourteen years ago,” said Stacey Schraufnagel, manager at Tyranena Brewing Company and co-President of Legendary Lake Mills, the city’s newly merged Chamber-Main Street Organization. “It’s a part of Lake Mills’ past. Through the early 1900’s, massive hunks of ice taken from Rock Lake were used to cool food and beer locally and all the way down to Chicago. Those historical harvests took place in January and February. Nowadays, who isn’t looking for something different and fun to do at this time of year in Wisconsin? So it only seems right that we celebrate our heritage with big chunks of ice and a beer!”
The Fun Doesn’t Stop on the Lake
But the fun doesn’t stop on the lake! And it isn’t just for adults. At the same time as the lake-top activities, downtown Lake Mills will host 26 professional and amateur ice carvers around its iconic Commons Park. There will also be free horse-drawn wagon rides, free family games, an ice skating party and more. Pop up food vendors, in-store specials at restaurants and retailers and the coronation of Knickerbocker’s very own royalty will also be highlights of the event.
“Knickerbocker also reminds us of what it means to be from Wisconsin,” says Schraufnagel. “We are hardy people. We are fun-loving. We might even be a bit crazy… and we’re going to celebrate what makes us and this community unique, even if that means bundling up and spending an entire day outside in February!”
About Legendary Lake Mills
The mission of Legendary Lake Mills, a Chamber-Main Street Organization, is to preserve the heritage and promote development of the downtown area in conjunction with supporting the Lake Mills business community as a whole. By fostering new business growth, providing resources for existing business, and promoting tourism, we strive to make Lake Mills a better place to do business, to work, live and to visit.