Pure wintertime fun at Rockton Yeti Fest


Bob, Sam, Alex, and Tanya Davidson stopped by Jill Rae Finally Art's photo booth during Yeti Fest.

Families and friends were prepared to have pure wintertime fun and Rockton's 2023 Yeti Fest delivered. Four days of action from Feb. 8-11 offered something for everyone. This year marked the eighth of this Rockton tradition.

Yeti Fest is billed as “a festival where the abominable snow people of Rockton and their friends come out to enjoy a mixture of winter related activities and is a celebration of all things winter and it all revolves around yetis” - walk, play, or skate like a yeti.

In spite of a mix of warmer temperatures and other weather challenges, snow sculpting teams created masterpieces.

One of the teams who have sculpted every year is Vikings In Black - the Skupien brothers from Roscoe, known professionally as Sven, Thorfinn and Bjorn . Together they created a sculpture entitled, “The Ferryman,” of Charon from Greek mythology, who rowed the ferry on the river Styx.  This year's inspiration came from a challenging time when Thorfinn wrote and recorded a song and did an illustration of the piece.

Another featured piece, created by the Gnome Skulls team, was made up of four gnomes - one sees no evil, another hears no evil, one speaks no evil, and the other one is undecided.

The Snow Sultans, Team Lent-Snow Rippers, the Slackers, and Kilted Snow Weasels also displayed detailed works.

This year The  Legion of Snow Sculptors was joined by community volunteers on Saturday, Feb. 4, to build the blocks needed for the snow sculpting teams. The snow for the carving blocks was made by a snow making machine.

The live yeti was seen both outdoors and in various businesses, all four days.

scavenger hunt began on Wednesday, allowing everyone a chance to find a stuffed yeti hidden in each participating store. Once a yeti was spotted, the yeti's name was listed on a scarf, then marked on a scavenger hunt bingo card. On the Yeti Scavenger Hunt Facebook page, a yeti’s name and location were documented.

The Doggie Development Academy, under the direction and instruction of Jason Hussong, gave dog sled (mushing) demonstrations on Friday and Saturday. The High Flying Huskies team weren't stopped by melting snow, as the sled that was used had wheels to allow them to utilize grassy areas and other walkways.

As a special treat after watching, everyone had a chance to to meet dogs and their handlers at a meet and greet.

Adults put on their best or cutest onesie to wear to a pub crawl on Friday night while connecting with many friends. At each stop, pub crawl participants picked up a punch card in an attempt to win prizes. Congratulations to Jen Asprooth, Justin Williams, Stephanie Holland, Ali Wilson and Andy Stephenson - each has won prizes from this year's pub crawl.

Young and young at heart started off their Saturday with a Yeti Dance Party at Settlers Park.

Always a proven favorite, the Hot Cocoa Crawl returned on Saturday afternoon. Each participant tried a variety of flavors in a commemorative mug, complete with a cool stirring spoon.

After trying all of the hot chocolates, crawlers stopped into the Village Hall to vote on their favorite flavor. CES, a civil engineering firm, was the sponsor of the hot cocoa crawl.

The Mix's Toasted Vanilla Marshmallow was voted the fan favorite hot cocoa. Other delicious participants were DeeDee's Main Street Coffee & Decor, Sugar Britches, Rockton Inn Pub & Grub, Rookie's Pub and Grill and Fib's.

New this year was the introduction of the first ever Yeti Fest Snowball, which brought out a variety of dress styles on Saturday night.

Dirty Pop performed songs of different eras, creating the right aura to hit the dance floor.

Three hours of dancing commenced at the Rockton American Legion (American Center).

Attendees could win a prize sash for “Best Hair” and “Best Dressed.”

Aaron and Kari Szeto of Sosnowski Szeto, LLP. were named the King and Queen of the Snowball. Holley Krall was voted as having the “Best Hair.” “Best Dressed” was Jamie Swanson.

Local businesses opened doors while offering "yeti specials" on eating, drinking or shopping.

Jill Rae Finally Art put together some take-and-make or make-in-person kits, such as a scarf kit, Valentines bracelet, “Paint a Little Love,” snow globes, an ice skating polar bear, or a fox acrylic painting kit.

Erica's Board Creations hosted a walk-in board painting during Yeti Fest.

Yeti Fest was made possible through the efforts of organizer Tricia Diduch and numerous sponsors. “I think the large number of sponsors shows how much time and energy and resources it takes to make this event happen, and it is so appreciated, “Tricia Diduch said.

The snow sculptors would like to thank the Village of Rockton, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, CES Inc., and Sosnowski Szeto, LLP. To support, feed and assist the snow sculptors, we must thank Hidden Creek Estates, Sven & Angus, Man Bundt Bakery, American Bell Screen Printing, Balsley Printing, Title Underwriters Agency, Diverzify, Accelerated Plumbing Inc., Josh Normington Excavating, the Hononegah National Honor Society and all of the volunteers who came out to stomp snow and move forms, Executive Lawn Services, the Rockton Lions Club, Anabel's Cleaning Service, RyCOM, Sugar Britches, Apple Shack Repair Shop, Louie's Tap House, Fibs and Rockton Inn Pub & Grub.

For the Snow Ball, a special thanks to Sosnowski Szeto, LLP for being our entertainment sponsor and Senator Dave Syverson for being a table sponsor. Lori Perkins, Senator Syverson's wife, was instrumental in helping out with the details as well. Also, a HUGE thank you to Maggie Welter - Francik and Joel Francik.  After The Vine bought a table to raffle off during Galentine's Day celebrations, and John and Sheryl Peterson Real Estate Brokers, RE/MAX Valley in Roscoe were the winners. 

The Vilodeau and Simmonds families were greeted by a live yeti.
Six year old Wren and four year old Vivian brought their own toy yeti to Yeti Fest. They came with their parents Bill and Amber.
The Lewandowski family stopped by Erica's Board Creations on the Yeti Fest route.
The Patrick family tried different hot chocolates during the Hot Cocoa Crawl.
Rose and Mike were decked out in special outfits for the 2023 Rockton Yeti Fest Snow Ball.
Micki Grin and Annalise Perone of About Face came out for an evening of fun at the Snowball.
A group of friends gathered together for a photo op to show off their unique style at the Snow Ball.
The Grim family and their dog enjoyed quality time at Yeti Fest as they took part in the scavenger hunt.

Detailed gnomes were featured on a snow sculpture in Settlers Park.

Vikings in Black sculpted “The Ferryman,” Charon from Greek mythology, who carried dead souls.

Jayson Shull attended the Snow Ball with Jamie Swanson who was named "Best Dressed. They were also joined by Kevin King and Kimberly Camm.

Some people go to Yeti Fest, and others are Yeti Fest. Locals having fun at the American Legion Friday night. Photo by April McGinnis.

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