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Embracing the chill: North Liberty's Beat the Bitter back for fourth year

Stephen Mally/The Gazette

Horse drawn carriage rides were popular last year during Fire and Ice Friday, which is part of North Liberty’s Beat the Bitter at Penn Meadows Park in North Liberty. This year’s event is scheduled for Jan. 27 through Feb. 2.
Stephen Mally/The Gazette Horse drawn carriage rides were popular last year during Fire and Ice Friday, which is part of North Liberty’s Beat the Bitter at Penn Meadows Park in North Liberty. This year’s event is scheduled for Jan. 27 through Feb. 2.
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NORTH LIBERTY — While late January forces many Iowans into a state of hibernation, officials with North Liberty’s annual winter festival of events want area residents outside in defiance of winter’s chill.

The fourth year of North Liberty’s Beat the Bitter event kicks off Sunday, Jan. 27, and includes a full week of music, games and activities for all ages.

“We know that, especially the states up north, know how to embrace winter and get out there and do winter sports, patronize local businesses and not let it change our lives. In Iowa, we don’t do that so well,” said Jillian Miller, North Liberty’s community engagement coordinator and chair of the Beat the Bitter committee. “It all started with a resident saying, ‘Iowans don’t know how to do winter.’”

But with North Liberty’s growing Beat the Bitter event, Miller said area residents are proving that sentiment wrong.

Beat the Bitter began as a single afternoon event, which included a 5K, kickball tournament and after party at Reds Alehouse, Miller said.

Programming has since grown to include days of events for all ages. New this year will be the Wintry Warm Up event on Jan. 27 to kick off Beat the Bitter. The event will include a kite display at Centennial Park by Great American Kites & Events.

“We didn’t really have a large event to kick off the week in the past,” Miller said. “We’re excited to kind of bookend the week.”

Also new this year will be a heated tent in Penn Meadows Park, with a variety of programming.

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Other events will include the Igloo Jam, a concert at Penn Meadows Park, the Fire and Ice fireworks display, and other games and activities.

Beat the Bitter concludes Sunday, Feb. 2, with the return of the Snuggie Crawl, a 350-person bar crawl between Mosley’s, El Cactus, Tin Roost, Rocky O’Brien’s, Reds Alehouse and J&A Tap.

“The gist of it is there is something for all ages each day of the week,” Miller said.

Miller added that a strong community involvement, as well as participation by many local businesses, helped make Beat the Bitter such a success.

Registration is required for some events and in some cases participation is limited, Miller said. Check the website for more information at https://beatthebitter.com/.

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

Some main events at North Liberty’s Beat the Bitter:

l Ice skating — Jan. 27 to Feb. 1

l Polar Plunge — Jan. 27

l Pickleball — Jan. 29

l Burrito Breakfast — Feb. 2

l 5k Obstacle Run — Feb. 2

l Curling tournament — Feb. 2

A full list of events can be found at https://beatthebitter.com/all-events/.

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