Madison Frozen Assets Festival

Madison Frozen Assets Festival

The sun came out and the temperature rose just in time for the Frozen Assets Festival earlier this month. The festival was held on the ice of Lake Mendota outside the Edgewater Hotel. Anyone walking up to the festival would notice the colorful kites lining the sky and multiple ice rinks carved in the lake with kids playing hockey. 

Clean Lakes Alliance put on this event and Adam Sodersten, the Marketing and Communications director, said this is their 11th annual festival. 

“The purpose of the event is just to draw attention to the lakes year round,” Sodersten said. “We think of lake health and the importance of the lake in the summer when you can swim or boat or fish or do any of that and then you forget about them in the winter.”

Sodersten said that the purpose of Clean Lakes Alliance is to help people become more aware of the lakes in Madison. If lakes can become the “center of the community” then people can be motivated to help take care of them. 

The name came from the idea that the lakes are the biggest asset to the community, and because they are frozen in the winter, the festival was called “frozen assets.” 

“It's interesting how many people have lived in the Midwest or greater Madison and have never been out on a frozen lake,” Sodersten said. “It's just a unique experience to get a look back at the city from a view you haven't seen before.”

Sodersten said Clean Lakes Alliance partners with many other community organizations to put on this event. They host the only 5k run  in North America that is entirely on ice. 

They were also able to offer free snowshoeing and free ice skating with the help of their sponsors. 

The most noticeable feature of the festival is the amount of kites in the air. The Wisconsin Kiters Club was responsible for these.

They also had tents called ice labs. One tent had limnology professors sharing about Wisconsin lakes. Sodersten said they partner with the UW Center for Limnology and the professors take ice samples and explain the science behind ice freezing and how fish survive. 

Several skydivers from Seven Hills Skydiving also made an appearance periodically throughout the event on Saturday, Dave Lyons being one of them 

Lyons claims skydiving has become second nature for him. He got bored one day and decided to go out and just got addicted to it. He has now done over 300 jumps. 

This event is one of just many that Clean Lakes Alliance to promote awareness of Madison lakes. They also have a bike around the lake loop event in the summer. Sodersten said anything they do to help people think about the lakes benefits their mission. 

“So just to understand how important these lakes are year round,  I think it[the event] just helps the message year round,” Sodersten said.


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