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St. Charles County outdoor winter family activities

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Downtown St. Charles turns into an icy art gallery on Jan. 25 with the annual Fete de Glace. The one-day free festival begins for the 16th time at 9am and pits ice carvers against each other in competitive team and individual displays.

The carvers use chain saws, hot irons, chisels, sanders and other tools to carve the sculptures. Because the work is done outdoors, the carvers and carving are impacted by the day's weather, The competition goes on despite rain, snow, or warm temperatures.

The morning's Monster Carvers competition has each two-person carving team shaping five, 260-pound ice blocks into one piece. In the afternoon, individual ice artists will shape smaller sculptures in the Master Carvers event.

Fete de Glace is held on North Main Street. More information is available on the city's website.

O'Fallon's Cabin Fever Daze outdoor event provides families an outside ice skating rink and other activities. The event is free, including parking. Food will be available for sale. The event is Jan. 25 and 26 at the city's Sports Park on Highway K.

A Kids' Area opens Saturday with winter-themed crafts. Older kids and adults will be entertained by the Hockey Circus Show, which features a Cirque du Soleil acrobat who combines comedy, athletics, and theater in his performances.

The SnowGlobe fits up to six people inside a 15-foot tall snow globe. A Snowshoe Obstacle Course provides a challenge for the athletic (or curious). A Fruitcake Chuckin' offers another athletic challenge that adds the benefit of providing a fun way to recycle uneaten fruitcake.

Other athletic challenges include the Freeze Your Buns Trivia Run, Broomball, and the Human Dogsled Race.

More information about Cabin Fever Daze is on the city's website.

As long as winter continues, bald eagles flock to the Mississippi River north of St. Charles County where the open river allows them to feed unimpeded, and bare trees provide nesting spots. The Audubon Center at Riverlands in West Alton is an excellent viewing area to see the eagles--and trumpeter swans--feeding and nesting.

The center provides viewing scopes to help visitors see the large birds. Weekend activities offer information about the fowl. The center's website provides a schedule of upcoming activities.

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