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posted: 2/17/2013 5:00 AM

On the road: Who needs a laugh?

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  • See a free, laugh-filled performance art piece by La Ribot at the Chicago Cultural Center.

    See a free, laugh-filled performance art piece by La Ribot at the Chicago Cultural Center.

  • The hunt for colored ice cubes and waitstaff races are part of the fun during Schnee Days in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

    The hunt for colored ice cubes and waitstaff races are part of the fun during Schnee Days in Elkhart Lake, Wis.



Laugh it off

It's winter in Chicago, and who couldn't use a laugh? Born in Spain and based in Switzerland, La Ribot is known for her unique performance art involving laughter, action and the onlooker. Her work, "Laughing Hole," presents three performers shaken by peculiar laughter who continually throw themselves on a floor covered with cardboard with odd handwritten words. No reservations are necessary for this durational piece, during which audience members are free to come and go as they please.

1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, in the first-floor Garland Room, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago. Free. (312) 744-3316 or

No small crawl

Join the World's Largest Indoor Bar Crawl as Navy Pier partners with Players Sport & Social Group for a warm escape from winter. Seven bars at Navy Pier will offer low-priced beer and winter cocktails, food specials, entertainment and much more. Walk the Pier and move from bar to bar with a drink all while remaining indoors. Your ticket entry includes one beer ticket, T-shirt, drink specials, complimentary ticket to ride the Navy Pier Ferris wheel and entertainment including live music, games, raffles, prizes and free trolley service to and from the Red Line Grand subway stop and partner hotels.

Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Tickets $20 and can be purchased at or visit

Some enchanted evening

If you underwhelmed your significant other on Valentine's Day, you can make up for it at the Chicago Mart Plaza hotel. For the remainder of February, you can enjoy a romantic getaway with a low-priced package that includes an Enchanting Evening Romance Game, Frango Mints, a $25 gift card and 10 percent savings to Macy's, and either complimentary breakfast for two at the hotel's ItaliAsia Restaurant or room service. Late checkout also available.

Through Thursday, Feb. 28, the package starts at $135 per night, at Chicago Mart Plaza, 350 West Mart Center, Chicago. (312) 836-5000 and use booking code, IKHD1, or visit


Old fool festival

Wabasha, Minn., the oldest city on the upper Mississippi River, is the ideal spot for the Grumpy Old Men Festival held on the last Saturday of February each year. Count on an ice fishing tournament, minnow races, polar plunge, raffle, dog Frisbee contest, pet parade and lots of entertainment. There also will be a cribbage and poker tournament, a luncheon and bingo. Wabasha's historic district has more than 50 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so be sure to take a historic walking tour while in town. Hotel packages include a night of lodging, two $15 restaurant gift certificates, gift basket and other specials.

8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. Call (800) 565-4158 or

Jubilee of Schnee

Events for kids and adults, snow shoeing and a hunt for colored ice cubes are on the menu at Schnee Days in Elkhart Lake, Wis. The Schnee (or "snow") Days festival in this east-central Wisconsin town that was settled by Germans includes a dog sledding, music, a chili contest, talent show, free wine tasting, waitstaff races and more.

5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21; 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22; 10 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, Feb. 23; and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, in downtown Elkhart Lake. (877) 355-4278 or

Your throne awaits

People living in the cold Midwest are inventive at beating cabin fever. For example, there's the Coopersville Outhouse 500 in Coopersville, Mich. This town between Grand Haven and Grand Rapids celebrates the commode with a decorated outhouse parade on Main Street, a decorated toilet seat contest and auction, C-ville Chill 5-K race, bake sale, chili cook-off, live music and more.

9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, in downtown Coopersville. (616) 997-5164 or

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