FLake Festival is next week

Forest Lake’s annual winter celebration will provide plenty of opportunities for community residents and families to be out and about in town this year. Several local businesses and community groups, in partnership with the city of Forest Lake, are providing activities as part of FLake Festival every day from Feb. 20 through 26.

Festivities will kick off this year with a free showing of “The Secret Life of Pets” at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 20, at the Lakes 5 Theatre. Open skating at Tower Park will also begin at that time if weather permits, but the event may be canceled due to projected warm temperatures.

The annual city medallion hunt also begins Feb. 20, and clues as to which city park the medallion is hidden in will be posted on the city’s website and at forestlaketimes.com.

Two of the biggest participants in FLake Festival this year are the Hardwood Creek Library and the American Legion Post 225.

The library is hosting a free Winter Wonder family storytime on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and a pajama storytime at 6 p.m. Thursday; it’s also hosting a “block party” for kids to play with LEGOs and blocks at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Legion is holding three events over FLake Fest weekend: its annual free Redneck Party at 8 p.m. Friday, a chili cook-off and brew fest (a Fourth of July fundraiser) from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, and its annual Yellow Ribbon breakfast from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday.

Also on Friday, the YMCA is holding a free open house for community members from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The two signature events of FLake Fest are the medallion hunt and the Forest Lake Rotary’s Getting Cold for a Cause Plunge into Forest Lake.

Registration to participate in the medallion hunt is currently open at www.cityofforestlake.com/250/FLake-Festival, and this year’s winner will receive a prize pack worth more than $400, including the medallion itself; YMCA bucks; an American flag; two rounds of golf at Castlewood Golf Course; gift certificates and gift cards for Vanelli’s Forest Lake Community Education , the American Legion and Target; and apparel from the YMCA, Community Education and Castlewood.

As for the plunge, the annual community fundraiser, organized by the Rotary, will take place at noon on Forest Lake’s first lake, off the coast of Lakeside Memorial Park, weather permitting. A first-time feature this year will be a DJ playing at Vanelli’s from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Learn more about the event by visiting firstgiving.com/forestlakerotary/2017winterplunge. FLake Festival’s complete schedule can be found at cityofforestlake.com/250/FLake-Festival.