Winterfest Fireworks

Fire and Ice at Lake Chelan Winterfest

By Anne Erickson | Photos courtesy of Visit Lake Chelan

There’s something about the combination of fire and ice that’s primal. Gathering around a fire on a snowy winter night keeps the dark at bay and warms both body and soul. Lake Chelan Winterfest has mastered that magical combo of fire and ice, welcoming the New Year with a two-weekend-long celebration that encompasses the town of Chelan, nearby Manson, and the many wineries along the shores of Lake Chelan. 2024 Lake Chelan Winterfest takes place January 12-21, 2024 and promises to be a party that brings light and levity to winter’s darkest days.

First the ice. There will be over 20 carved ice sculptures from Seattle’s Creative Ice all around Chelan and Manson and nearby wineries. The feature ice sculpture this year will be a huge ice throne, the perfect place to take a photo. Download a map and see them from the comfort of your car on a driving tour. Or linger longer and see live ice carving on Jan. 13th in Chelan, and on Jan. 20th in Manson. During past celebrations, ice dragons, ice selfie stations, even an ice couch showed up.

Winterfest Ice

See the ice crystals fly as crafters transform solid blocks of ice into beautiful sculptures.

Winterfest Ice

Almost 14,000 pounds of ice will be carved at Winterfest!

Now, on to the fire. You can’t celebrate winter without providing heat, and there will be bonfires galore at 2024 Winterfest. A gigantic one will take place at 6pm on Saturday, Jan.13th at Chelan’s Don Morse Park. And it will be fueled by Christmas trees. It’s become a local tradition to drop Christmas trees off at the marina parking lot, where they will contribute to a blazing pyre during Winterfest. There’s a polar bear plunge during the bonfire for folks who want to embrace the whole fire and ice thing wholeheartedly. And then, more fire: Fireworks will light up the skies above Chelan on the 13th, and then Manson on the 20th.

Lake Chelan bonfire

Purchase a Winterfest button online or at the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce – it helps support all the fun and wearing one will unlock special deals and discounts at restaurants, retailers, breweries and wineries during Winterfest week. Also, Winterfest is a family-friendly celebration – littles can enjoy apple bin rides, participate in a Mitten Walk, and find ‘Tsilly’ (pronounced ‘Chilly’, of course), Lake Chelan’s sea monster and mascot –at local businesses to enter to win a grand prize.

Winterfest Chelan

Another local’s secret – Winterfest unofficially lasts all winter long in Chelan. There’s skiing and tubing at Echo Valley, a small ski hill with a rope tow, ski rentals and concessions. Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area has 25 miles of groomed trails for single track skiers, skate skiers and snow shoeing. Some local wineries even host sledding parties. A winter visit to Chelan is also a good way to beat summer crowds and high season summer prices. And Lake Chelan is stunning when it’s decorated with snow.  “Wintertime in Lake Chelan is just spectacular,” said Steele.

Chelan Winterfest

The Winterfest Wine Walk includes a commemorative glass and 10 wine tokens. Shop and sip as you stroll through downtown Chelan, enjoying the region's newest wineries along with familiar favorites. The Winterfest Wine Walk will be held on Saturday, January 13th from 11-5pm. Wine Walk tickets are limited so get yours asap. Wine Walk tickets also include one Winterfest Button!

Chelan Winterfest

The ice bar is back for 2024 Winterfest!

We asked Steele, a lifelong Lake Chelan resident, if he had one local’s tip for making the most of Winterfest. “Bundle up!” he said. “Come prepared to be outside, since it’s an outdoor celebration.” 

Lake Chelan

Visit Lake Chelan 
For information on Winterfest and other happenings in Lake Chelan check out: