An annual winter tradition returns to the area Saturday, albeit in a new location with a picturesque backdrop.
Winter Day at Springbrook, an event featuring a variety of horse-related activities, will be held near Burnett at Springbrook, a secluded 132-acre estate.
Hosted by the Wisconsin State Horse Council Equine Foundation, the day of old-fashioned family fun evolved from a sleigh rally that began in Columbus a decade ago. The function runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We’re really excited about moving to Springbrook,” said Sharon Hookstead of the WSHC. “It’s such a beautiful area and a fabulous facility.”
All of the traditional activities — including a sleigh-driving competition, horse-drawn bobsled rides, a model horse show and food, raffles and vendors — will be back.
“Plus, new this year, there will be dog sled demos for everyone to enjoy,” Hookstead said.
The Alaskan Malamute Club of Wisconsin will conduct educational talks and demonstrations throughout the day, starting at 10 a.m. Children will be allowed to pet the animals.
People are encouraged to come out and watch the activities taking place. There is no admission charge for spectators. Bobsled rides are open to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a small fee.
Scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., the sleigh-driving competition is composed of three different divisions: a pleasure class, a cones course and a Currier and Ives class. Competitors don’t have to preregister but they can contact Dave Kluge of the WSHC for more information at 920-210-0879.
“People really get a kick out of watching the sleigh-driving competition,” Hookstead said. “A lot of the sleighs and horses have jingle bells on them and the drivers and riders often are decked out in vintage wear.”
A sleigh parade will follow the competition and the public will vote on their favorite entry.
Hookstead said weather is always a factor for the outdoor events.
“The number of participants typically varies from year to year; if there isn’t enough snow for the sleighs, the horses can pull carriages, carts or other wheeled vehicles,” she said. “However, the forecast for Saturday right now looks to be perfect with cool temperatures and a slight flurry.”
A recently renovated 1920s barn on the grounds will be the site of various activities during Winter Day at Springbrook.
“The barn is temperature controlled and starting at 8 a.m., we’ll have 40-50 exhibitors upstairs taking part in the model horse show,” Hookstead said. “It’s one of the biggest shows in the Midwest and features many unique models. Displays are judged in several categories and awards are given out to the top models.”
Downstairs, vendor booths will be set up with a variety of items for shoppers; a Dodge County dairy ambassador, Marsh Haven, and a large animal emergency rescue team will be putting on presentations; and the Sleigh Bell Café will also be serving hot food and beverages.
Hookstead said they are hoping to have a fire outside where people can enjoy making s’mores.
“We promise the day to be community and kid-friendly,” she said. “An event like this helps to build interest in equine activities and gets people involved.”