Embrace Winter with Beat the Bitter’s Free, Safe Events Starting Saturday

North Liberty’s Beat the Bitter returns for its sixth year with safe activities to look forward to and brighten up the isolated winter. The week’s schedule kicks off Saturday, Jan. 30 and runs through Feb. 6, 2021.

All programming is free. Highlights include family fun and fireworks in Penn Meadows Park, the Igloo Jam concert to benefit COVID relief, a virtual Snuggie Crawl, and a twist on the annual 5K-ish Obstacle Run. See the full details at beatthebitter.com.

The community is invited to make an impact while jamming out with The Pork Tornadoes from the comfort and safety of their own home during the coming Beat the Bitter Igloo Jam presented by GreenState Credit Union, which returns — virtually — for its third year on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m. The free-to-attend livestream concert will raise funds for the United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties’ Community Disaster Relief Fund, currently focused on ensuring that our region’s most vulnerable people and families have the support they need to weather the short- and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting earlier on Jan. 30, Penn Meadows Park will feature sculptors carving nine different ice sculptures in the Ice Sculpture Walk along the park’s trail. The park will also feature the North Liberty Library’s two-sided Winter Storywalk, with the newly published book The Snow Dancer and the 1962 classic The Snowy Day. Both walks will be available all weekend. The festival’s annual 15-minute winter fireworks display presented by GEICO Careers  will start at 7 p.m. on Jan. 31. Organizers request that per the Johnson County mandate, attendees wear a face covering while taking in the weekend’s programming and maintain at least six feet of social distance between households.

All week long, fans of the annual 5K-ish Obstacle Run are encouraged to participate in an alternative course. Those who complete the wintry 5K-ish loop will receive both a commemorative 2021 medal and 15% off an entire We Run purchase when they stop into the local running store at the route’s finish. Participation is free. Download the route or join the leaderboard for some healthy competition on Strava.

The annual sells-out-in seconds Snuggie Crawl presented by Collins Community Credit Union is open to everyone to join in the comfort of a Snuggie from their couch on Saturday, Feb. 6. It’s not just another Zoom event. The Snuggie Crawl will be on Gather, a virtual space where participants’ avatars can move around to virtual bar stops, chat with avatars located nearby and play games with other attendees. Registration is free and open now at beatthebitter.com. The free registration includes the Gather Snuggie Crawl 2021 link and tips for how to use the digital platform, access to virtual games and a free CHOMP delivery code for takeout from a restaurant partner.

Beat the Bitter is organized by the North Liberty Community Betterment Group, a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Special thanks to festival sponsors GEICO Careers, Collins Community Credit Union, GreenState Credit Union and the City of North Liberty. Additional thanks to Scheels, Hills Bank, Think Iowa City, Diventures, South Slope Cooperative Communications, Junge Ford BMW of North Liberty, Hy-Vee, Anne & Ashley Real Estate, Unique Events, Z102.9, BDL Transportation for their generous support in the past that has put Beat the Bitter in the position to be able to pivot its usual programming and offer free fun in this difficult year.