There are plenty of things to do in Redwood Falls for those who want to engage in winter activities. Because of the early darkness and the oftentimes dreary weather it can be difficult to think of something fun to do at a moment’s notice.
What follows is a short list of seasonal activities happening in the area.
Winter events can hardly be discussed without mentioning the Celebrate Redwood’s Fire and Ice celebration happening atop of frozen Lake Redwood. This year’s festival takes place Feb. 3 from 5-8 p.m. It will be the fourth annual event featuring some good-old classic Minnesota events – broomball, outdoor bowling, bonfires and trail walking, plus much more.
Hockey is in full swing at the Redwood Area Community Center with the scheduled games posted online and on sports calendars. While some people are spectators, some people would rather play. There is a non-league open-hockey time for eighth grade through adult age players on Wednesdays at 8:15 p.m.
Ice skating at the RACC rink is also available. The monthly schedule for open skate is available at the center; there is no skating charge for members.
Sledding is an old winter standby. With very little required except a thin piece of plastic and a snow-covered incline, it’s one of the easier ways to risk life and limb in pursuit of frozen thrills.
Sledding can be as simple as a sled, inner tube or even a scoop-shovel in a backyard, or it can be a more serious endeavor – a la Clark Griswold and a greased saucer. If you are making it a big event, there is a dedicated sledding hill in Garvin Park (south of Marshall) complete with a warming house.
If doing something extreme is more your speed, there are several regional “polar plunge” type events, though none scheduled specifically in Redwood Falls. They can be easily located through the Internet and social media searches. Most of them are fundraisers dedicated to specific causes. Doing crazy things for charities is even better when one’s friends and family are all watching.
The Minnesota Valley Snow Riders group is a snowmobile club, one of three in the county. The three groups work to keep the trails maintained and properly groomed for riders to enjoy the scenery on the Minnesota River trail. While the trails are open and available to riders, there is a great community aspect of being part of a group. The local club meets the first Monday evening of each month at the VFW in Redwood Falls.
Alexander Ramsey Park features miles and miles of trails. For many people snowshoeing is the favorite way to stay active while out of doors, and the trails are a boon to snowshoers. The trails are just as pretty in the winter as during the summer, but as an added benefit the mosquito population is significantly reduced.
Ice fishing is always a possibility, too. It is possible to fish the Minnesota River and there are a few area lakes as well, though they typically require a little pre-planning and a short drive. Locals who enjoy fishing are usually quick to share fish stories and suggest places to try. There are also several active groups online that will help point a potential angler in the right direction based on their desires and experience.
Some people would rather stay inside and forget that snow and freezing cold blankets us for eight months out of every year. For those people, the RACC’s community guide is a convenient tool for engaging in different activities groups that don’t require any shivering. From the indoor walking course to the gym and basketball leagues (or even scrapbooking), there are activities for all lifestyles.
This region is home to everything that is Laura Ingalls Wilder. A fun activity to try with the family might be to stay indoors and make Snow Candy, which she wrote about in “Little House in the Big Woods.” The recipe was printed in The Little House Treasury by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christina Wyss Erikson and resembles something like molasses taffy. The recipe calls for one cup of molasses and one cup of brown sugar.
“Boil the molasses and sugar together in the large pot until the mixture reaches the ‘hard crack’ stage on a candy thermometer or until a spoonful dropped into cold water forms a hard ball and cracks. Remove the syrup from the heat... Scoop fresh, clean snow (or crushed ice) into the shallow pan. Dip up a spoonful of syrup and dribble it onto the snow in ‘circles, and curlicues, and squiggledy things’ as Laura and Mary did. It will harden and become candy. Lift the candy off the snow and onto a clean towel to dry.”
If you’re going to stay in and try Laura’s Snow Candy, you might as well top of an evening by playing board games with the family and enjoying hot cider or cocoa. Nothing makes winter activities more enjoyable than doing them with friends or family.