Things to do in Johnson County this weekend: Winterfest, Patty Griffin


Once again, the Iowa City area proves that cool temperatures won’t stop things from happening.

The Amana colonies hold their annual winter festival on Saturday, showing that there is still plenty of fun to be found during the cold weather.

Between that, musician Patty Griffin on stage at the Englert Theater and comedies in Iowa City, here are three things to do this weekend in Johnson County.

Winterfest at Amana Colonies

Amana Colonies holds its seasonal festival celebrating winter with competitions, games, and plenty to eat.

Winterfest is on Saturday, and here are some of the highlights of the day:

The Great Amana Ham-Put, where people can try to outdo each other by throwing a ham as far as they can. The winners will be determined in this not quite Olympic game.

The name says it all: Best Beard Contest. Show off your beard and maybe win a prize. Categories include the most full beard, the most unique beard, and the best overall beard.

The Reiner Erdt Art Exhibition, which features 40 watercolor and ink artworks depicting scenes from the colonies of Amana and Ronneburg, Germany – the sister city of Amana Colonies, according to the Amana Colonies website. The exhibit will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Millwright Hotel.

Amana Frieza 5k Run and Walk, which starts at 10 a.m. The race benefits the Amana Colonies Kolonieweg Recreational Trail. The 3.1-mile trail connects the villages of Amana and Middle Amana, according to the Amana Colonies website.

Up to Snow Good Party welcomes guests to the Millwright Hotel for a party starting at 5 p.m., featuring live music, food and beer. Free entry.

Winterfest Wine, Beer and Coffee Walk invites people to pick up a $5 Beverage Walk Card and stop at the following businesses for a drink:

  • Amana Coffee & Tea
  • The rusty tractor
  • Cellar by the fireplace in the village
  • Prosit Wines
  • Ackerman Vineyard
  • Millstream Brewing Co.
  • Cellars of the White Cross
  • Village wine estate

Activities for kids at Winterfest include a bake-your-own cookie at Ox Yoke Inn from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All proceeds will go to Iowa County’s Safe Haven, which rescues and rehabilitates dogs and cats, and finds homes for these animals. There will also be a bonfire at Millstream Brewing Co. at 2 p.m. to roast marshmallows, though these treats are certainly not just for kids.

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From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., chainsaw artist Bobby Ward will be working live from Colony Carvers. Colony Carvers began in 2017, and Ward has since made chainsaw art of bears, pumpkins, and other animals. The art will be available for purchase.

Here is a complete list of Winterfest activities held at the Market Barn, located at 707 46th Ave. to Amana:

  • Pepper on open fire: 11 a.m.
  • Ice sculpting: 11 a.m.
  • Ice fishing: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Wreath throwing: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • The Great Amana Ham-Put: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Throwing snowballs: noon to 2 p.m.
  • Log sawing competition: 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Mushing: 1 p.m.-2 p.m.
  • Contest for the best beard: 2 p.m.

Other activities include mini-golf at the Festhalle Barn from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and live music at Millstream Brau Haus and Millstream Brewing Co., both from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Visit the Amana Colonies website to learn more about Winterfest or download a brochure listing all the events.

Patty Griffin at the Englert Theater

Singer-songwriter Patty Griffin will perform at the Englert Theater at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Texas-based singer released her debut album “Living with Ghosts” in 1996.

Griffin plays folk and Americana. His most notable songs include “Let Him Fly”, “Long Ride Home”, and “Up to the Mountain”.

Her sixth album, “Downtown Church,” won a Grammy for Best Traditional Gospel Album and her 2019 self-titled album won a Grammy for Best Folk Album.

Griffin’s music has been performed by artists such as Martina McBride, Kelly Clarkson and Miranda Lambert, and she has also collaborated with Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant.

Tickets are $40, $20 for students and can be purchased on the Englert website.

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Comedy at Willow Creek Theater Company and Joystick

Willow Creek Theater Co. and Joystick, formerly known as the Iowa City Yacht Club, are hosting comedy shows this weekend.

Willow Creek is an Iowa City theater company that returned to live performances in 2021 with two new productions.

Friday’s lineup at Willow Creek includes:

  • Mohamed Yual, a Des Moines-based comedian who created an Instagram-based comedy game show, according to the Des Moines Register.
  • Ellie Whisler, an actress based in Iowa.
  • Jameson Cox, an Iowa-based Florida comedian who was the house MC at Penguin’s Comedy Club in Cedar Rapids.
  • Carson Tuttle, an Iowa City-based comedian who will headline Joystick on January 28.

The show begins at 9:30 p.m. Willow Creek Theater Co. is located at 327 S. Gilbert St.

Meanwhile, Joystick will host comedian Luca Ferro Friday and Saturday starting at 8 p.m.

Ferro is a Chicago-based comedian and producer for South Paw Comedy Productions.

The Joystick is located at 13 S. Linn St.

Paris Barraza covers entertainment, lifestyle and the arts at Iowa City Press-Citizen. Contact her at [email protected] or (319) 519-9731. Follow her on Twitter @ParisBarraza.

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