Village of Lexington embraces the wintry weather with annual Winterfest event

It’s official, winter is here. It’s only fitting that the Village of Lexington’s annual Winterfest is right around the corner.

Organized by the Lexington Business Association (LBA), this two-day event kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 3, taking place downtown. The festivities include a range of activities such as ice sculptures, a Polar Plunge, frozen bowling, a fish toss, a winter fashion show, and more.

Lynn Wilhelm, President of the LBA, estimates over 1,000 people attended last year’s Winterfest. Although there isn’t an exact count from the event, she says retailers reported an increase in sales last year due to the influx of visitors.

“The Lexington Business Association is dedicated to promoting downtown Lexington as a tourist destination,” Wilhelm says. “Our aim is to help local businesses, restaurants, retailers, and lodging thrive by organizing exciting and distinctive events that draw in more customers and boost sales. We invite everyone, both locals and visitors, to join us in experiencing the charm of our downtown area throughout the year.”

Lexington Winterfest takes place in the business district of the village, closing down part of Huron Avenue from Dallas to Washington.

“Lexington is more than a summer visiting location,” says Heather Turner. “Being able to have events year-round helps keep businesses thriving and also for the community to enjoy."

“The stores will be open and have specials, so it’s just a really exciting day to be in downtown Lexington,” Wilhelm says. “Downtown is a social district, so they’ll be able to walk around, visit the different restaurants and bars, and enjoy that aspect too.”

Now in its third year, Jenna Dysk, LBA event coordinator, says Winterfest started as a way to encourage safe, outdoor social gatherings and a fun way to embrace the winter weather.

“All day on both days of the event is also the ice sculpture walk,” Dysk says. “Some of our local businesses have opted to have ice sculptures out for everyone to walk around and check out.”

Wilhelm says one of the goals of the organization is to promote tourism in the village throughout the year.

“We wanted to come up with some exciting ideas, and we have the perfect location and opportunity to do a Polar Plunge,” she says. “It kind of just exploded from there.”

Heather Turner, Lexington Business Association Board Member and owner of Lexington Nutrition and Fort Gratiot Nutrition.Heather Turner is a LBA board member, trustee, and owner of two Blue Water Area businesses, Lexington Nutrition and Fort Gratiot Nutrition. This year, Turner helped with planning Winterfest and says she is looking forward to the event and bringing more age-inclusive offerings to the area.

“Lexington is growing and evolving,” Turner says. “Being able to have the whole family come out for barrel fires, chili cook-offs, games, crafts, and more is essential to a successful event. Last year we didn't have all the extra events; we had kids’ crafts, a Polar Plunge, and a chili cook-off. We added in a lot more fun to create a full weekend and experience for the locals and visiting families.”

She says she hopes events like this, which promote tourism beyond the bustling summer season, can help increase foot traffic to local shops, restaurants, and lodging.

“Lexington is more than a summer visiting location,” she says. “Being able to have events year-round helps keep businesses thriving and also for the community to enjoy. Lexington is a small village that has cute, unique shops and restaurants that can be enjoyed year-round. The community is our support and they deserve to enjoy events all year.”

Wilhelm says the two-day event also offers a great reason to extend your stay and explore more of what Lexington has to offer.

“We have a number of bed and breakfasts in the area, The Cadillac House, Lakeview — there are many places to stay,” she says. “We’re encouraging people to come up, enjoy two days, visit all of our exciting restaurants and retailers, and have a nice weekend getaway with your family.”

The chili cook-off is one of many family-friendly activities Winterfest offers. Hosted at Sweetwater Gourmet Deli & Bar, from noon to 2 p.m. attendees can sample chili from local restaurants for a $10 donation which will benefit the LBA’s planning of future events.

A chili cook-off will be hosted at Sweetwater Gourmet Deli & Bar from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024.

Another popular feature of Winterfest is the Polar Plunge. Participants can compete for different awards such as the wackiest costume or the most pledges, and donations benefit Project Blessing, which supports those in need across Sanilac County. Registration for the Polar Plunge starts at 1:30 p.m. with the event taking place at the boat launch at the Windjammer Bar and Grill at 2 p.m. Local first responders will be on-site for safety purposes.

From 2 to 5 p.m., free children's crafts will be available at The Lions Club in Lexington. From 3 to 5 p.m., frozen bowling and a fish toss will take place on Huron Avenue. For a $5 fee, participants can enter to win prizes. At the Windjammer at 5 p.m., there will be a Detroit City Distillery tasting event. To cap off the evening a tribute show, Thunderstruck: America’s AC/DC, will be held at the Lexington Village Theatre at 8 p.m.

Sunday’s Winterfest welcomes residents and visitors alike to enjoy family-friendly events. The Windjammer will be hosting a brunch buffet from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., and beginning at noon there will be a pet and people snow apparel parade pageant held at Tierney Park/DNR parking lot where donations will benefit the Sanilac County Humane Society.

Explore more information about Winterfest and the Village of Lexington at
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing resident, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at