As I got off the bus for my first Beyond the Hive adventure, I found some fellow first-years and off we went to explore the festival. It was my first time to go to the South Haven Ice Breaker Festival, and my first time in South Haven at all. I heard about the experience through Kalamazoo College’s Office of Student Involvement and only paid $5 for lunch, transportation, and a lot of fun.
This was the 23rd annual Ice Breaker Festival–it runs for three days in the beginning of February every year. It’s known for its ice carving contest, pub crawl, chili tasting and ice skating. Because of the mild winter the air wasn’t too cold, but the wind from Lake Michigan made it feel quite cold.
First my friends and I spotted a few ice sculptures next to the ice skating rink. There was a chair made of ice that many people stopped to sit in and take pictures in, and other sculptures of Storm Trooper, a Popsicle and more–all for a contest.
As I walked downtown, I saw long lines of people waiting to taste chili from one of 26 contestants. I got some hot cocoa and went inside a store to warm up for a few minutes before joining a line for chili. I tasted about four samples, the most unique being a chili flavored ice cream.
I wandered into a few more stores, including one that was a store full of dogs and products for the dogs and their owners. Owners were nice and let me pet just about all the dogs that were in close proximity.
The downtown stores were charming and beautiful. Right beyond downtown was Lake Michigan, so I wandered down to the pier and the lighthouse at the end. I’d never seen a partially frozen lake myself, and I couldn’t believe how beautiful the lake was.
After seeing the lake, I came back to the downtown area where hundreds of people were hanging around. I went into a coffee shop where there was free hot cocoa and coffee, as well as more chili to taste.
The nearly five hours that I spent in South Haven went by so quickly because I had so much fun. I thoroughly enjoyed getting the opportunity to get off campus and have an amazing mid-quarter break.
MaryClare Colombo, K’19