ALBERT LEA, Minn- Temperatures might have been below zero on Friday and will be this weekend but the deep freeze is not preventing Albert Lea's annual Big Freeze from happening. The event is a way to get people to step outside, get active, support local businesses, and have a little fun.
"It's a winter festival that involves a lot of different groups and businesses," explained Albert Lea Executive Director Holly Karsjens.
Participants have the opportunity to do outdoor activities from snowshoeing and ice fishing to indoor activities like shopping, putting together a puzzle, and a medallion hunt.
Shopping local plays a big role in the two day event this year. It also gives newer businesses like EJ's Mercantile a chance to grow.
"We opened in September of last year so it feels great to be downtown among the Albert Lea program of events," said owner Kellie Steele.
On Friday, participants had the opportunity to partake in a scavenger hunt.
According to Karsjens, The Big Freeze is likely the largest amount of activities the community had scheduled since COVID.
"I think it's been more stressful in planning, a lot more stressful in pivoting and making sure everyone knows what to do and what not to do."
Karsjens wants everyone taking part in The Big Freeze to practice social distancing and wear a mask even when outside. In case you missed it, The Big Freeze isn't going anywhere. The fun continues on Saturday with a visit by the character Elsa, star of the Disney hit "Frozen," a fat tire bike demo, along with sledding and smores. For a list of events, click here.