Its not just about the holidays

Winter is one of the best times to enjoy not just friends and family, but also their community. The Coos Bay Downtown Assocation allows residents to do just that. During Christmas time each year, they hold events where community members can meet Santa or watch the mayor light the Christmas tree. One of the most beloved activities is the reindeer roundup.

“We have a downtown reindeer and his name is Ruckus,” said Holly Boardman, CBDA Executive Director. “He convinces Santa’s reindeer from the weekend to not go back to the north pole, but instead to explore downtown front street and Coos Bay Village. Santa’s reindeer are hidden in 30 different businesses in downtown, and people have to go into the businesses and take a picture to win the raffle prize. These businesses have donated nice prizes; there are three baskets for each week and each basket is valued at $300 each. There is a ‘Naughty list’ where people can find out where the reindeer are at to take a picture of it. We are trying to get as many people into businesses as we possibly can.”

Even though winter is often associated with the holidays, it is not just about Christmas, Hannakuh, or Kwanzaa. Coos Bay has many fun activities in winter despite not having snow. King tides are abundant around this time, so many take advantage of this and hit the beach overlooks. A new ice skating rink in North Bend also lends its services. 

To celebrate the new year, brave residents of Oregon’s Bay Area can take part in the polar plunge at Sunset Bay State Park. Polar plunges are also scattered around many other parts of the Northeastern United States and Canada. People plunge into a nearby body of freezing water and then rush to get in and out. This event is usually held to bring awareness to a cause or benefit a charity. 

If snow is necessary for some people, however, it’s just a short drive up the mountain. Many students and families visit the snow in Diamond Lake, Crater Lake, or even up in the country hills between Coos Bay and Interstate 5. 

“I go on a annual ski trip every year to Mount Hoodoo,” said Marshfield High School freshman Azura Beckett. “Once we get there we go to a trampoline park and then before we leave we have a party with a pinata.”

Willamette Pass Resort in Cresent Lake has also shown to be a popular snowboarding and skiing resort. It is Southeast of Eugene, and provides plenty of outdoor winter activities.

All around the world different people have different traditions that they participate in every winter. Dongzhi Festival, a Chinese holiday, marks the beginning of the Winter Solstice. This relates to the philosiphy of Yin and Yang. According to the Chinese, Yin denotes the positive and Yang the negative. The solstice is supposed to bring good things as families get together to enjoy a wonderful meal and celebrate this. 

Canadians take part in a winter festival in mid-February called Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg, Manitoba. During the festival, participants can view unique snow sculptures, enjoy ice skating, snack on Canadian foods, taste handcrafted beer, and much more. Because many Canadian men take refuge from the cold winter weather by growing beards, there is even a beard competition at Festival du Voyageur.

In the U.S., a February tradition is to look toward Punxatawny Phil, the famous groundhog, to see when winter will end. Groundhog’s Day, celebrated on February 2, has been celebrated since 1887 in Punxatawny, Penn. If the groundhog sees his shadow, he burrows into his den for six more weeks, which predicts a longer winter. If he does not see his shadow, he is predicting early spring.