Long, cold winters are an inescapable reality while living in South Bend. The snow isn't going anywhere any time soon, so we might as well take advantage of what the cold weather can offer: All-day ice-skating, an ice-carving competition, 25 tons of ice, a life-size ice carousel, ice-cream booths, and an ice bar.
Our neighboring Michiana city of Niles, Michigan is hosting the 7th annual itineration of the Hunter Ice Festival which features the highlights mentioned above as well as many more ice-themed activities and a few a little outside of the theme (case in point: a chili cook-off). Today is the 2nd day of the festival, which continues until tomorrow throughout downtown Niles. The Festival celebrates the locally-owned Hunter Brothers Ice and Ice Cream Company. It was founded in Niles in 1898 and plays an important role in the history of the area, even though it is now defunct.
The events and activities of the Festival are really almost too numerous to list, but check out the schedule of events here. I don't know of any better way to choose to enjoy the South Bend-area winter.
Read about the history of the Hunter Brothers Ice and Ice Cream Company here.