After the lights and decorations have come down and been put away, after the holiday cheer has subsided into the realization that winter is just getting started, many people struggle to fight off the urge to hibernate until spring. But that’s no fun! Your charitable organization can come to the rescue by holding a winter festival that offers something for everyone to enjoy while helping raise funds.
Be sure to choose the venue(s) and dates first so you can quickly put together a schedule of events and activities that will be fun for people of all ages. Be sure to include some indoor as well as outdoor activities. Music is a popular draw, and depending on local tastes and available venues you could find success with inviting a community choir or symphony orchestra, a school band or popular local musicians.
With the cold and snow of winter come hankerings for comfort foods like hot, thick soups and chili. Why not hold a competition for the best chili and the best chowder in town? Volunteers from your group could serve as judges, and letting members of the public sample the entries and then cast votes for their favorites is a great way to get as many people as possible to participate and have fun. Separate categories for restaurants and self-proclaimed chili and soup masters allow individuals as well as established eateries a chance to make their names known in the community. Votes can be cast using raffle tickets sold on-site prior to the judging.
A nearby river or lake could be the perfect site for an ice fishing contest for sportspeople both young and old. For the more intrepid among your guests you could hold a polar plunge. (Be sure to cut away at any ice that may be on the water in advance of your event!) For an added element of fun, hold a bathing suit contest and issue an award for best outfit. Arrange for local celebrities to serve as emcee and judges.
After a day of outdoor fun, hot food and beverages will be popular ways to warm up and can add additional revenue to your fundraiser. Classics like hot chocolate, mulled cider and other warm drinks are sure to be very popular. Or you could invite area restaurants to participate in a winter feast, presenting choice menu items for all to enjoy.
Offer indoor activities for the little ones when they have had enough of the cold, such as simple arts and crafts activities. A sing along with a local musician and a clown are two more ideas for helping families enjoy warming up. And while everyone recovers on the chill, you could hold a raffle drawing with winter-themed prizes, such as a gift basket of a mug, hot chocolate and a bookmark or a package of warm robes and slippers, scented candles and fragrant hand and body lotions.
Have fun planning your midwinter fundraising event!