Santa isn’t the only thing coming to town this year. Beginning Dec. 10, the Town of Zionsville will present its inaugural Winterfest, a nearly monthlong seasonal event.
In 2020, the town’s parks and recreation department conducted a community survey asking residents what services they want from the department. Nearly half of respondents said they’d like to see more community events, according to Jarod Logsdon, the town’s parks superintendent.
After examining the survey results, the department began considering new events, including an idea similar to Carmel’s Christkindlmarkt and other holiday-themed events in nearby communities. Town officials came up with Winterfest for Zionsville.
The event runs through Jan. 2.
“People wanted to see (more events), so we made that our mission coming out of the pandemic, as we begin to safely emerge,” Logsdon said. “We also wanted to take advantage of a time of year when there are limited recreational activities.”
In May of 2021, the Zionsville Town Council approved a one-time $145,000 additional appropriation to allow the parks and recreation department to secure a portable ice rink for Winterfest.
“Those funds were generated from user fees from programming from years past,” Logsdon said. “So, as we generate revenue from this event, those funds will be deposited back into our programming. Any surplus funds that go beyond the cost of this event will be used to subsidize programming for 2022 and beyond.
“So, really, this is a community celebration but also an opportunity to fundraise for our programming and keep it free and affordable throughout the year.”
Logsdon said the event is estimated to cost a little more than $207,000, the initial estimate projected in May. He said the spike in lumber prices and other unforeseen factors attributed to the slight increase.
Starting Dec. 10 at Mulberry Fields, 9645 Whitestown Rd., in Zionsville, residents can ice skate at the ice rink. Winterfest will run until Jan. 2, although it will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Hours will vary while school is in session. During the week, Winterfest will be from 4 to 9 p.m. On the weekend and during Zionsville Community Schools’ winter break, the event will start at noon and close at 9 p.m.
Besides ice skating, the event will feature food trucks around the park’s roundabout and a holiday village near the splash pad, where crafts and programming will be offered throughout Winterfest. The Azionaqua Swim Club will sponsor a stage where additional programming will be offered. Smores, hot chocolate and other seasonal treats also will be available.
“Skating is what might get you out there, but it is the programming and all the other events that will keep you coming back all month long,” Logsdon said. “Santa will be making a couple stops. We have reindeer coming out. And then all month long we will have programming like a silent disco. People can enjoy a private dance party that can only be heard in their headphones. We will have Nitro from the Indy Fuel coming out, as well as a couple of cool nights where we will have ugly sweaters and Halloween on the ice — really a lot of things to keep people engaged and excited and reconnected in the community.”
Crews are constructing the platform for the 56-foot by 72-foot ice rink. Logsdon said the platform would be placed at Mulberry Fields the first week of December. The rink will be assembled shortly after by Ice-America, a company that specializes in portable ice rinks. Each skating session will last 90 minutes. Cost is $12 per session. Skate rental is an additional $2. Customers can bring their own skates. Ice resurfacing will occur every 90 minutes, which will close the rink for 15 to 30 minutes.
Logsdon said the goal is for Winterfest to become an annual event.
“We were just walking around Mulberry Fields (recently), and there is so much room we can grow into for years to come. We can add more attractions to not only invite and celebrate Zionsville but also the region, as others come and explore what makes Zionsville so unique,” Logsdon said Nov. 1.
A word from the mayor
Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron said she supports Winterfest and the parks department’s efforts to create new ways of engaging the community. She said Zionsville, with an array of downtown shops and restaurants, has the opportunity to welcome a new tradition with Winterfest.
“One of the things that was important to me coming into office was to actually start initiating and providing more recreation and cultural/community programming for all ages,” Styron said. “And I am so proud of this team in the parks department that has broadened its programming from weekends to all week with its partnership with the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library and the nature center. That has been a really big deal. And this Winterfest program is simply marvelous, a family friendly, weekslong (event) of all types of winter-oriented programming.
“It is going to be so exciting for our residents, and I think it’s going to be a really big hit.”