HIBBING — When only five Hibbing High School seniors stepped forward to vie for the title of Winter Frolic Queen, the seven-members on the board of directors were faced with a tough decision.
Proceed with the event, or cancel it all together?
“We did discuss that,” said Penny Wilkerson, Winter Frolic board director. “Some said don’t have it this year, but then we talked about how people look forward to it and how it breaks up the winter. We decided that if we can afford it to just keep it going.”
And so it will — minus the royalty.
The first 2014 Winter Frolic event will be held this weekend. A sliding party will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Veterans Park.
The annual fishing contest and family fun day at Carey Lake will be held Feb. 8, and the treasure hunt for the medallion will also proceed.
“It’s exciting to continue the long-standing tradition that’s been part of Hibbing for many years,” said Wilkerson. “And hopefully we can continue it for years to come.”
But there won’t be a queen coronation nor a titan named this year. There also won’t be a senior king and queen.
“We had to change course because we aren’t able to hold a coronation because we don’t have enough participants, which means we also won’t have a titan,” she said.
The contest is open to senior females who attend Hibbing High School. Wilkerson said five had expressed interest, but eight are needed to make the contest feasible.
“There won’t be those activities in the community, nor the Patty Miller show, nor the glamor shots,” she added. “But we may still have some of the past girls there at the events.”
Last year the committee had opened the queen contest to junior students, but only one showed interest.
“We’re disappointed, because we love having the girls involved in the community and learning what the community is about and how it works,” said Wilkerson. “We are disappointed, but we decided that we wanted to keep the event going because it’s tradition in Hibbing. We still want to be out there, hold some of the events and hopefully more girls will sign up next year.”
The Winter Frolic queen and Titan of Taconite have long served as ambassadors for Hibbing. They often participate in parades and appear at events, such as ribbon cuttings for new businesses. They reign for one year.
Wilkerson said the reign is quite a commitment, noting that the queen most often goes from high school to college during that time.
“It’s hard enough the first year, and then they go off to college, which makes it even more difficult to participate,” she added.
The Winter Frolic Committee has briefly discussed shifting the crowning of royalty to simply naming a community ambassador.
“Even if it doesn’t work out in the future with the girls participating, we still want to try to keep it alive,” said Wilkerson.
Queen candidates have traditionally sold the Winter Frolic buttons, but local businesses have stepped up to sell them instead. A $3 button can be purchased at Sammy’s, Johnson Floral, Shubat Transportation, Security State Bank, Bender’s Shoes and Dave’s West Howard Auto. A button is necessary for the fishing contest and treasure hunt.
Wilkerson said that change, even in traditional events, is inevitable, and what the future will bring remains unknown.
For now, she and the committee will focus on making this year’s Winter Frolic events fun for all.
“My outlook is positive,” she added. “I always look at the glass as half full, not half empty. I root for the underdog and keep going to the end,”
Wilkerson invites everyone to support — and participate in — this year’s frolicking.
“Come out, and enjoy a fun day in January and in February,” she urged. “Get out of the house, enjoy winter.”
Winter Frolic schedule of events:
• Sliding Party from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Veterans Park. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Chances to win sleds, Hibbing hats and mittens, and gift certificates. Buttons will be sold. Event is free.
• Fishing Contest & Family Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at Carey Lake. Cash prize for biggest Northern. Fun for the kids including horse-drawn sleigh rides, games and prizes.
• Treasure Hunt begins Sunday, Feb. 9. Watch for clues in the Hibbing Daily Tribune. $500 cash prize for person who finds the medallion.
For more information, follow Hibbing Winter Frolic on Facebook.