Embrace Winter. Beat the Bitter’s Fire & Ice Brings Fireworks, Ice Skating, Carnival Rides and More Free Family Fun to North Liberty this Sunday, Jan. 26.

North Liberty’s annual winter festival, Beat the Bitter, kicks off this weekend, offering a week of activities to get folks out of the house to embrace winter. Fire & Ice presented by GEICO Careers is the festival’s free family day and it’s all about the fire and the ice. All are invited to Penn Meadows Park this Sunday, Jan. 26, from 3 to 7 p.m.

Ongoing activities include horse-drawn trolley rides, ice and wood carvings, pictures with Olaf, food trucks, bonfires with marshmallows, hot chocolate, cotton candy, GEICO Careers photo booth and other sponsor-hosted activities.

A handful of carnival rides typically seen at county fairs in the heat of summer will also be found on Penn Meadows’ frozen fields. Children and adults can enjoy free spins in teacup carts, rides on large-scale swings, sway against gravity and take a trip on the park’s trail in a trackless train.

Fire performances from Iowa’s Golden Girl, Ambition Baton & Dance and the Eastern Iowa Circus are also scheduled throughout the event. 

Attendees will also have an opportunity to check out figure and hockey skates to enjoy the Penn Meadows Ice Rink, seasonally installed on the park’s tennis courts. Ice skating, as well as all Fire & Ice activities, are weather permitting.

And to end the evening, in what has become a tradition for North Liberty, a 15-minute winter firework display will launch at 7 p.m. View the full schedule at BeatTheBitter.com.

All Fire & Ice activities are free for attendees thanks to the support of GEICO Careers, all the sponsors listed at the end of this release, and tickets sales from Beat the Bitter’s sold out Jan. 25 Igloo Jam concert and Feb. 1 Snuggie Bar Crawl.

Taking place immediately before the Fire & Ice event on Jan. 26, Beat the Bitter’s annual 5K-ish Obstacle Run will challenge participants to obstacles around the perimeter of Penn Meadows Park. Registration is $20 online through Friday night, Jan. 24, and $25 day of (cash only). All participants will receive a finisher medal. Additional Winter Games presented by Scheels which includes kickball, curling and broomball tournaments will take place the following weekend on Feb. 1. Spectators are welcome at all winter games events, and spots are still available to play in the broomball tournament. Learn more and register for the 5K-ish Obstacle Run and broomball at BeatTheBitter.com.

With the collaboration of local businesses organizing affiliated festival events, over 30 events are planned Jan. 25 through Feb. 1. Free and registered activities include ice fishing, a bike poker ride, the debut of the North Liberty Library’s newest annual event embody|embrace, a polar plunge, pizza making and painting parties, a multi-course beer dinner, trivia night, 80s party, curling seminar, dog obstacle run, a chili supper and more. Explore and filter the full schedule based on age and event type at BeatTheBitter.com.

Beat the Bitter is organized by the North Liberty Community Betterment Group, a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Special thanks to GEICO Careers, Collins Community Credit Union, Scheels, GreenState Credit Union, Hills Bank, Think Iowa City, Diventures, South Slope Cooperative Communications, Junge Ford BMW of North Liberty, Hy-Vee, Anne Aguirre Realtor, Ashley Bermel Realtor, MidAmerican Energy, Unique Events, Z102.9, ICAN, BDL Transportation and the City of North Liberty for their generous support.