By TARA KELLER, Sentinel Staff Writer
This year's Bowling Green Winterfest had a touch of romance.
About 20 sparkling ice sculptures, carriage rides, live music and activities were all on hand to entertain visitors this past Valentine's Day weekend during the sixth annual event.
"I really thought it was nice being able to celebrate Winterfest during Valentine's Day," said Wendy Stram, director of the BG Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It was a nice added touch."
On Friday, couples and families alike strolled downtown to check out the ice sculptures and catch a ride on one of the horse-drawn carriages.
The Napoleon-based company, Ice Creations, offered carving demonstrations. Popular sculptures included a diamond engagement ring, a giant heart and a falcon.
"At one point, we had about 20 people stop and look at the falcon," Stram said. "Somebody was always taking a picture of the falcon."
For Ronald Hayhurst, Winterfest meant a chance for him to show his wife of four and half years, Sharon, a romantic Valentine's Day.
The couple checked out all the sculptures and enjoyed downtown's glittering lights.
"This was so romantic and fun," Sharon Hayhurst said. "I love him because he's such a romantic and you never know what's up his sleeve."
Day one of the three-day festival wasn't just for couples.
Morgan Molnar treated her three little Valentines to a carriage ride downtown.
"All the kids liked the horses," Molnar said of her sons Jackson, 6, Cooper, 4, and Max, 2. "They liked waving at people. They even named one of the horses 'Charlie.'"
Some downtown businesses got in on the fun by hosting Snowflakes on Display Art Exhibition and extended hours.
The fun continued across town on Saturday for the BG Parks Frostbite Fun Run at City Park.
Ninety-eight participants ran in the morning event.
"We had a ton of people. I really think people wanted to get out of the house," Stram said. "The sun was even shining for a little bit there."
People enjoyed the sunshine and got a bite to eat through the BG Arts Council Sandwich Stroll and the Chili and Soup Cook Off where "there was standing room only."
Saturday ended with a jazz concert by Bob Manley and Friends at Grounds for Thought and an Acoustic Penguin concert at The Stone's Throw.
On Sunday, families made their way to the Wood County District Library for a Penguin Party.
Thanks to community sponsors, children did penguin arts and crafts and played games like fishing for balloons and inflatable darts.
"It's kind of a carnival and it's a way to get families into the library," said Maria Simon, children's librarian. "We always do something for Winterfest and we wanted to mix it up this year with the penguin theme."
Simon dressed the part for the kids, wearing a tall black top hat with a sparkly red bow tie.
Sara Abercrombie's son, Dorren Thibodeau, 4, wore his shark Halloween costume to the party to keep the penguins on their toes.
"He chose going here over Imagination Station," Abercrombie said. "It's a great environment. It's fun. He always gets books."
Watching people have fun is what makes the six months of planning worth it to Stram.
That task wouldn't be possible without all the Winterfest community sponsors and volunteers.
"I don't know any other places that have three-day Winterfest events," she said. "We do our best to include everything."
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