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The Journal Gazette

  • File photos The Chilly Challenge on Jan. 1 will wind through the city with a stop at Johnny Appleseed to watch the Polar Plunge. 

  • The Rumble in Fort Wayne returns Dec. 29-30 at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Runners can choose from 50K, 50K relay or 10.8-mile distances at the Huff at Chain O' Lakes.

Sunday, December 10, 2017 1:00 am

Reasons to brave the cold

Plenty of events this winter worth braving the weather

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

The Germans have a saying that there's no bad weather, just bad clothing. There are still plenty of reasons in the northeast Indiana region to layer up, bundle up and get outside and enjoy the outdoors this winter.


Cross Country Ski Clinic, 10 a.m. Dec. 16, Fox Island County Park. The clinic includes equipment, prep and maintenance, basic instruction and technique (weather permitting). The cost is $8 and includes one-hour rental or voucher for a future rental. There is another clinic on Jan. 6.

Night Hike, 5:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at Fox Island County Park. Hikers can explore the park in the dark as the solstice approaches. Cost is $2.

Registration for either Fox Island event is required by contacting Ron Zartman at or at 449-3186.

Fifth Annual Ugly Sweater Run, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21, JK O'Donnell's Irish Ale House. The 3-mile fun run will wind through the streets of downtown, viewing the Holiday Festival Lights. There will be an ugly sweater contest following the run. Admission is two non-perishable food items.

Winter Solstice, 7 p.m. Dec. 21 at Metea County Park Nature Center. The event will explore the rituals associated with the longest night of the year and venture into the woods of Metea Park. Register by Dec. 19 by calling Bob Dispenza at 449-8619 or at

Christmas Eve Morning Hike, Pokagon State Park. Meet at the Potawatomi Inn Sun Deck for a 1.5-hour stroll through the park's interior. The Spring Shelter will have a fire and holiday treats.

20th Annual Rumble in Fort Wayne, Dec. 29-30 at Memorial Coliseum Expo Center. Tony Stewart is returning to the Summit City in attempts to extend his record nine wins.

Huff 50K Trail Run and Relay, 8 a.m. Dec. 30, Chain O' Lakes State Park, Albion. There are 50K, 50K-relay and 10.8-mile distance options available.


First Day Hikes, Jan. 1. There will 32 events across the state put on by the DNR Division of State Parks and will be put on locally by Chain O'Lakes (2-4 p.m. at Sand Lake beach), Ouabache (1-2 p.m. at the nature center), Pokagon (1-2 p.m. at the nature center) and Salamonie Lake (2 p.m. at the Salamonie River State Forest Hominy Ridge Lake Dam). For information, go to

2018 Chilly Challenge Bike Tour, 1 p.m. Jan. 1, Psi Ote Pavilion in North Side Park. Now in its 23rd year, the 15- or 25-mile ride, sponsored by Three Rivers Velo Sport, will wind its way through the streets and parks of Fort Wayne including a stop to watch the Polar Plunge at Johnny Appleseed Park. Helmets are required. For more information, contact

40th Annual Fort Wayne Running Club Banquet featuring Desiree Linden, 3 p.m. (clinic), 5 p.m. (banquet) Jan. 20 at the Parkview Mirro Center. Linden, an elite marathoner, headlines the banquet with a clinic about “The Life of a Runner” before the banquet. Registration is required at


32nd Annual Fanny Freezer 5K, 2 p.m. Feb. 10, Shoaff Park. The race is one of the earliest 5Ks of the year and is the first official points series race for the Fort Wayne Running Club. Registration can be found at

Eagle Watch Field Trip, 3 p.m. Feb. 11 at Salamonie Lake Interpretive Center. There will be a short program about eagles and a drive to well-known spots to view bald eagles. The program will end up at the roost side in Miami County to watch bald eagles fly in for the night. Register at 468-2127.

Cowboy Gathering, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at Salamonie Lake's Upper Wabash Interpretive Center. There will be a virtual tour on horseback of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Sloppy joe sandwiches will be provided but guests are requested to bring a side dish to share. Preregistration is required by calling 468-2127.


Pokagon Toboggan, open weekends with or without snow. 5:30-9 p.m. Fridays, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. During the upcoming winter break, the run will be open daily, except Christmas, starting Dec. 20. For the complete schedule, go to