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Rotary Club planning signature Winterfest event

by Lynn Atkins | January 18, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.

Members of the Rotary Club of Bella Vista are embracing the cold weather this year with a new, reimagined event for area children. Winterfest is coming on Saturday, Feb. 4, at St. Bernard's Church.

In the past, the Rotary Club worked with the Property Owners Association on a children's event at Riordan Hall each winter. Even with Riordan Hall closed for renovations, the Rotary Club decided to bring the event back. It will be a signature event for the club according to Robert Ritschel of the Rotary Club.

"The Parish Hall is a great fit," Ritschel said.

POA surveys have confirmed that parents are looking for things for kids to do in Bella Vista. Many of the amenities in Bella Vista are designed for adults, not children, he explained.

Last summer, the Bella Vista Foundation sponsored a charity golf tournament with the help of several area nonprofits and the Rotary Club was one of those. The club agreed to use its share of the proceeds to benefit young people in the city and the new Winterfest is the result, he explained.

It's being planned as a carnival, he said, and will have four distinct areas: Penguin Alley, Snowman Lane, Enchanted Forest and Frozen. Both Elsa and Olaf, characters from the movie Frozen will be on hand for pictures with attendees.

There will be about 20 games with prizes scattered throughout.

Other groups are helping with the project. Staff from the children's department of the Bella Vista Public Library will man a crafts table. The service club Altrusa will be passing out free books and the Knights of Columbus, the St. Bernard's men's group, will be cooking and giving away food.

There will be a face painter and a person making balloon animals in attendance.

The POA has been advertising for the event in its publications, Ritschel said, and is helping by providing some of the equipment needed for the games.

The event is completely free, but to prevent over crowding, participants should register for one of two sessions. The first session runs from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The second session will be from 12:30-2 p.m.

"The whole thing is about having fun," Ritschel said. The event is geared to elementary-aged children, but they are free to bring their families, he said.

To register go to and search for Winterfest. For more information, email [email protected]

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