You’re so vain. You probably think this fest is about you. Don’t you?
Well, in a sense, it is. But, more importantly, this fest is about camaraderie and rallying behind a fallen soldier.
If you know Peter, you’ve talked about the Sandstone Ice Fest, held annually in December at Robinson Park in Sandstone, MN. According to a recent Gallup poll*, 112% of people who come in contact with Peter hear the question, “so, wanna talk about ice fest?” There are few people in the climbing community more psyched on our annual ice festival than Peter is.
And so, a cloud hung over the festival in 2011 when Peter was stricken with the avian swine flu (that’s right, the dreaded disease that only occurs when pigs fly) and he was unable to attend.
His absence was so palpable, that a new festival idea was born. PeterFest.
PeterFest 2012 was a word of mouth event that slowly became legendary. Arranged by friends of Peter, this festival was simply meant to be a weekend of ice climbing with good people to make up for Peter’s absence months earlier. It was such a success that by the time the Sandstone Ice Fest came around again in December of 2012, plans were already underway for PeterFest 2: rePeterFest.
Peter didn’t seem entirely comfortable with the attention he was getting as the namesake for this now reoccurring event, so he decided to turn it into something bigger than himself. rePeterFest was to become a fundraiser for the Sandstone Ice Park. Peter reached out to the Access Fund, VE, MNCC, and local vendors to collect donations for a raffle to be held during the fest.
Instead of being word of mouth, this year’s PeterFest was organized on Facebook, home of all things, and quickly picked up over 50 RSVPs. The city of Sandstone got on board and granted permission for group camping at Robinson Park for the weekend. With all that in place, the festival was on!
Attendees started arriving as early as Friday night. Many day trippers, including myself, made it up just for Saturday, the day of the raffle. The hardcore spent the entire weekend, camping in frosty temps while being rewarded with sunny days. Everyone who attended had a shot at ice climbing, mixed climbing, and dry tooling in the quarry. Saturday also featured a speed climbing competition, pot luck dinner, and night climbing.
The raffle that Peter held raised over $400 that he is donating directly back to the ice park for continued expansion of the ice farming infrastructure that allows the park to make ice regardless of the unpredictable natural water flow.
With rePeterFest in the bag, it’s time to start looking forward to 3PeterFest (actual name pending).
Find the Facebook photo album here and an extended album on Picasa. If you see a picture of yourself, there are likely five or so more in the series. Get in touch if you would like any original photos of yourself.
*not a real poll.