When the temperature drops and the snow flies, it’s time for Waterloo’s premier winter festival known as Winterloo! Join the thousands of visitors who attend this annual event to celebrate all things winter. Winterloo gives people of all ages the opportunity to get outdoors and have some fun!
Originally known as the Waterloo Ice Dogs Festival, the event was rebranded as Winterloo when the festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013. Now a three day festival, its many events are located throughout UpTown Waterloo, including Waterloo Park, Waterloo Public Square and venues throughout the core. Participants can take in programs that follow five different themes: Winter Sports, Winter Survival, Winter Cultures, Winter Warmth, & Winter UpTown.
Ice sculptures, skating at the public square, horse drawn carriage rides, snow man making stations, a winter obstacle course and sliding down the giant ice slide are all part of the fun that awaits the entire family. Along with the many outdoor events, there are events that take place indoors at various locations. Take in story time at the Waterloo Public Library, participate in free programs at Button Factory Arts, enjoy free movie screenings at Princess Cinemas, and get hands on with the winter-themed arts and crafts at the Clay and Glass Gallery. The festival is family-friendly, and is free to attend.
New in 2019 was the First Ever Mac n’ Cheese Challenge at Stark & Perri in Waterloo. Also new was the Waterloo Polar Plunge happening in Waterloo Park, in support of Special Olympics.
The annual Winterloo Chili Cook-off is a popular part of the festival. Participating restaurants create signature chili dishes which can be purchased to sample. Judges choose the winning chili, and the public chooses the People’s Choice winner. Proceeds from the Winterloo Chili Cook-off are donated to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.