“It’s so warm:” Spring-like weather forces some changes at Cedarburg’s Winter Festival

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CEDARBURG -- The unseasonably warm temperatures caused a few cancellations at this year's Cedarburg Winter Festival on Saturday, February 18th. But the sunshine was both bad and good for this year's festival.

Cedarburg Winter Festival

Cedarburg Winter Festival

The signs may say "Winter Festival" but Mother Nature had a different plan.

"It's gorgeous," said Barbara Handle, Milwaukee.

The Cedarburg's annual celebration of winter is a solution for cabin fever.

"It was to help the merchants kind of gear up for the spring and have some business come in, and it was also for the community because people were stuck inside for so long. It's time to come out," said Executive Director of Festivals in Cedarburg,

BJ Homayouni

BJ Homayouni

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The festival has a host of events that run all day, but begin early with an ice sculpting contest.

"It's going great. I've got some shade, I'm protecting the block," said Jimy Dennis, ice sculpture artist.

Saturday's one of the more difficult days for the artists.

Cedarburg Winter Festival

Cedarburg Winter Festival

"I'm taking so much of it off, it'll just start to melt away. Probably by the end of today, they'll be gone," said Dennis.

Much like the ice on Cedar Creek, thawing has forced the bed races to move from the creek to the street.

Cedarburg Winter Festival

Cedarburg Winter Festival

"The ice isn't safe. You have to have nine inches of ice to run them on there safely. We don't have that," said Homayouni.

Cedarburg Winter Festival

Cedarburg Winter Festival

That didn't stop people from coming to the festival.

"It's so warm," said five-year-old Mia Osmus, Cedarburg.

Washington Avenue was packed as many enjoyed the February sun.

"It's awesome to do outdoor shopping in February, in almost 60 degrees! It's great," said Laurie Morgan, Illinois.

"I think we're going to expect anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 people here today. If it was a really cold winter day then we'd probably see as few as 2,000 or 3,000 -- so this really helps our attendance quit a bit," said Homayouni.

Cedarburg Winter Festival

Cedarburg Winter Festival

Festival organizers were forced to cancel the snowball softball tournament and the wine barrel races that usually takes place on Cedar Creek. They say those events will be reinstated next year, weather permitting.