Winter Fun in Northern Door County

Iced over lakefront

Iced over lakefront

Long, dark, cold winter days in Wisconsin make me want to curl up on the couch and watch Netflix until spring. However, staying in and rewatching all of the seasons of The Great British Baking Show can get a bit mundane. Happily, some film enthusiasts in Sister Bay have you covered for a fresh screen fix to bust your cabin fever.

The Door County Short Film Festival in early February comprises short films of two to twenty minutes long. They’re made by both amateur and professional filmmakers, some of them local. On Friday evening, the event kicks off with a party, open to the public, in the Sister Bay Village Hall. Then the shows begin. Spend both Friday evening and Saturday afternoon munching popcorn and taking in short films you definitely wouldn’t get the chance to see at home on the couch. Some of the films deal with local topics and others are more universal. The atmosphere at this festival is anything but pretentious; enjoy meeting locals and visitors alike who share a great appreciation—or mild interest—in cinema.

Distance from Blacksmith Inn: Driveable in 12 minutes (9 miles)

Pre-registration required: None

Cost: $5


If you’re freezing the first weekend of February, raise your temperature at the Fruit Loop Fun Run, one of the wacky activities at the annual Winter Festival in Fish Creek. To participate in this “race,” layer up in your favorite costume and meet in Clark Park to run the half-mile course through downtown Fish Creek. You’ll earn a celebratory bowl of cereal—Fruit Loops, of course.

After your warmup run, grab a brew and check out the Stumpf Fiddle competition, a unique musical matchup of homemade multi-instruments. Rather like a one-man band, participants can enter different categories, competing for best actual musical talent or quirkiest dance moves with their stumpf instruments.

Get out on the ice in Fish Creek Harbor and try your hand at ice bowling, the toilet seat toss or the bike toss. While the weird and wild definitely rule the Winter Festival, more traditional fun also takes place, like a chili cook off, sleigh rides and chocolate treats. Earnings from the games greatly benefit community organizations.

Distance from Blacksmith Inn: Driveable in 16 minutes (8.5 miles)

Pre-registration required: None

Cost: Free to attend


For sports fans, the second weekend in February is a great time to visit Baileys Harbor. It is then that the annual Door County Pond Hockey Tournament takes place. Teams enter in one of six divisions and skate on Kangaroo Lake for a chance at the Stanley Thermos.

Distance from Blacksmith Inn: Driveable in 5 minutes (2.7 miles)

Pre-registration required: Yes, if you wish to enter your team

Cost: Free to attend


After spending a day bowling on the ice of Fish Creek Harbor or cheering for a hockey team on Kangaroo Lake, you’ll need a soak in a warm whirlpool. Check the Blacksmith Inn’s availability for your winter adventure.


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