New competitive events success for WinterFest

Jordan Beck

The competitive side of NMU’s WinterFest wrapped up Monday, Feb. 17 with the annual airband competition being the last major event to pit house against house.

However, the festival will continue throughout the weekend, concluding with a men’s hockey game on Saturday, Feb. 22.

WinterFest has been a tradition at Northern Michigan University for decades, with an emphasis on boosting campus spirit.

Though many of the events from earlier festivals are still a part of the fest today, two new events were added for 2014 a tug-of-war match and a winter obstacle course.

Two of the longer-running events, the human sled dog races and the airband competition, were won by the Respiratory Therapy Club and Hunt Hall respectively. Out of the events added this year, the winter obstacle course was won by Payne Hall and the tug-of-war was won by Spalding Hall.

The addition of these events was inspired by this WinterFest’s close proximity to the Sochi Winter Olympics, Special Events Coordinator and junior public relations major Jordan Paquet said.

“Going along with this year’s Olympic theme, we added two events for the same day as the race,” Paquet said. “We referred to the three of them as the WinterFest Triathlon.”

Though the committee feared that participants wouldn’t warm up to these new events, the initial reaction has been quite positive, Paquet said.

“Sometimes, when you add new events to something that’s been a tradition, you don’t always get the greatest response from people,” Paquet said. “But, this year, it’s gone really well. People have been really receptive to the new events.”

One of the most enjoyable aspects of WinterFest’s recent additions was their promotion of school spirit and teamwork, freshman marketing major and Spalding Hall resident Cody Reavis said.

“I thought [the tug-of-war] was a really cool event,” Reavis said. “Everyone became involved and got together not just the one team, but a bunch of different houses and clubs.”

Reavis said Spalding’s victory was the work of both the house’s ability to cooperate and the strong leadership provided by Gallery House RA Rob Villabol, senior business management major.

“The first house to go was Payne, which was kind of intimidating, because they were really good,” Reavis said. “But our whole team worked together really well. Even when we fought Payne, we tried hard and didn’t give up. [Rob], who was coaching us, really helped motivate us to win.”

While WinterFest’s competitive events are over, the festival is still going strong. Primetime Productions will welcome comedian Jay Black at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 in Jamrich Hall.

On Friday, indie pop band Echosmith will perform in the Great Lakes Rooms. Finally, Saturday will feature the Women for Women Hair Drive, two performances of “The Comedy of Errors” (both of which are half-price for students) and the men’s hockey game against Michigan Tech.

Paquet said no matter how much planning and preparation goes into WinterFest’s events, it’s the people involved with them that make them truly special.

“From the Special Events Committee and myself, we’d like to thank everyone who’s come out to the events, either as a supporter or a participant,” Paquet said. “It’s been great having them there.”

For more information about WinterFest and how to participate in future events email the Special Events Committee at [email protected]