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updated: 1/12/2014 6:45 PM

Volo Bog hosts WinterFest

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  • Will Kruger and Chris Strong sing John Denver's "Country Roads" song during WinterFest at Volo Bog Natural Area on Sunday. The festival featured bog tours, a snow sculpture contest, a photo contest, winter crafts and live folk music.

       Will Kruger and Chris Strong sing John Denver's "Country Roads" song during WinterFest at Volo Bog Natural Area on Sunday. The festival featured bog tours, a snow sculpture contest, a photo contest, winter crafts and live folk music.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Amy Zera of McHenry helps her son, Robert, 2, make a bird food garland in the craft room during WinterFest at Volo Bog Natural Area Sunday.

      Amy Zera of McHenry helps her son, Robert, 2, make a bird food garland in the craft room during WinterFest at Volo Bog Natural Area Sunday.

  • Gloria Mellyn of Crystal Lake uses her new snowshoes to hike around the bog during WinterFest at Volo Bog Natural Area Sunday. "I've got cabin fever," said Mellyn. "I got new snowshoes for my birthday, so I came here."

      Gloria Mellyn of Crystal Lake uses her new snowshoes to hike around the bog during WinterFest at Volo Bog Natural Area Sunday. "I've got cabin fever," said Mellyn. "I got new snowshoes for my birthday, so I came here."
    photos by Gilbert R. Boucher II/gboucher@dailyhera

 

Sometimes, getting bogged down can be fun.

Just ask those who enjoyed Volo Bog WinterFest Sunday.

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Each year the Volo Bog State Natural Area near Ingleside hosts an event that features both outdoor and indoor activities, among them snow sculpting, hiking, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, poetry, live music, arts and crafts and even a tour of the only "quaking" bog in Illinois to have an open water center.

"We have got a little bit of everything, indoors and out. Winter in northern Illinois is unpredictable, so we don't rely on winter," which is why the festival has not only hiking and cross-country skiing outdoors, but also live music and arts and crafts indoors, explained Stacy L. Iwanicki, natural resources education coordinator with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Steve Combs of Carpentersville said he came to enjoy the snowshoeing.

"I love hiking here, and it seemed like a nice day," he said.

At first glance, one might be taken aback by the sight of yellow snow. But on further review, it turned out to be one of the colors creatively used by parents and children engaged in the snow sculpting competition. The creations included a snow rainbow and even a SpongeBob SquarePants sculpture.

Martha Dinschel of Fox Lake and her 12-year-old daughter, Katie, and Lisa Brondi and her daughter, Christina, 13, also of Fox Lake, could be seen carving away at the latter, which boasted some impressive attention to detail. The snow sculpting is something of a tradition with the two families.

"It's fun," Martha Dinschel said. "It's taken us a long time, though."

Moving indoors, visitors could enjoy songs performed by Christopher Strong and Will Kruger Music.

Upstairs, families were involved in making crafts. Tom and Cathie Fletcher of Palatine and their children, 3-year-old Maeve and 8-year-old Meghan, created bird feeders out of string and bowls and filled them with peanut butter, dried fruit pumpkin seeds and Cheerios for the birds.

"We love this place," Cathie Fletcher said. "We come here frequently in the summer and the spring. It's really kind of untouched and it's beautiful."

Tom Fletcher said the activities were great for the kids. "They love to learn about nature. It's a good way to teach them some things," he said.

He said his family has been on the bog tour in the past.

"What's great about the tour is you see a lot of things you wouldn't normally notice, if you just walked through it," he said.

A number of volunteers were on hand, including Nancy Doughty of North Barrington, who said that while this festival celebrates winter, it is always a good time of the year to visit the bog.

"The bog is beautiful at every season. It obviously changes, but every season has its own beauty," she said.

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