Need a Winter Boost? Come to Phalen Freeze Fest!

By Sage Passi

When I visited with Urban Roots interns, they were busy building puppets for this year’s Phalen Freeze Fest, the East side’s annual celebration of winter!

Urban Roots meets at space provided by First Lutheran Church, on the East Side of St. Paul at 463 Maria Avenue.

Daniel Polnau works on a puppet for Phalen
Freeze Fest.

Local puppeteer Daniel Polnau, who is well known for his involvement in Heart of the Beast and Bare Bones productions, in addition to his own projects, is guiding these youth in designing and building large-scale puppets and props to dramatize the Ojibwe legend of Shingebiss, a brave little duck that stands up to the Winter Maker spirit. 

This year Urban Roots interns are taking full creative control over the puppet performance and are having a blast coming up with ideas – from choreographing a dance for hibernating animals to finding ways to incorporate music into the performance. 

The puppet show is one of many of the fun activities being offered at Lake Phalen to embrace winter, get out doors and have fun!

Phalen Freeze Fest is a free outdoor family event that will be held on Saturday, February 11, from 2:00 – 6:00 PM at the Phalen Lakeside Activity Center, 1530 Phalen Boulevard in Saint Paul. The puppet performance will take place on the ice at 4:00 PM. 

Here’s your opportunity to try out ice fishing, snow shoeing, kick-sledding, boot hockey, fire building, taking a Story Walk and building a snow fort. Hopefully there will be some snow!

Don’t miss your chance to roast marshmallows or hot dogs over a fire or stop by the food truck!

Warm up in the boathouse with a cup of hot chocolate and read some books.

Or, check out the Low Salt Diet activity table for young kids and parents.

To learn more click HERE.

Partners for this annual event include the City of St. Paul, St. Paul Parks and Recreation, St. Paul Natural Resources, Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District, Wilderness Inquiry, Tips Outdoors, St. Paul Public Library, Polar Devils and Ramsey County with support from Clean Water Land and Legacy Funds.

Urban Roots is an organization on the East Side of St. Paul that has operated their food and environmental programs on the East Side of Saint Paul since 1996, engaging thousands of youth in education, training and work projects that provide service to the community, develop young leaders and improve health and the environment. Their mission is to build vibrant and healthy communities through food, conservation and youth development. They offer youth ages 14-21 from Saint Paul’s East Side paid internships in three program areas: Market Garden, Conservation and Cooking and Wellness.

In the summer some of their youth teams work on rain garden construction, habitat restoration and invasive removal. Market Garden youth interns plant, maintain and harvest small-scale crop production within their urban gardens. The organization promotes entrepreneurship by teaching youth interns to manage gardens and crops for distribution to community supported agriculture (CSA), Farmers Market, Roots for the Home Team, food shelves, restaurants and small-batch food preservation for seasonal sales. Program participants are also involved in creating sales and marketing materials for the Farmer’s Market and other retail outlets. 

 Thank you, Urban Roots!