5 things to do in McHenry County

Becki Keltner, center, talks with friends waiting to give blood during the second annual Jake Keltner Memorial Blue Blood Drive on law enforcement appreciation day, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Crystal Lake.

1. Explore downtown Crystal Lake while searching for matching mittens.

The game, put on by the downtown Crystal Lake organization, is free and involves finding decorated left and right mittens, six pairs in total, displayed around the downtown on Brink, Woodstock and Williams streets.

Answer sheet forms can be found online at downtowncl.org or in Marvin’s Toy Store or any store with a mitten displayed. Fill out the name or address or business where each mitten was spotted, and be sure not to mix up the left and right mittens.

Completed answer sheets can be dropped off at Marvin’s Toy Store, 64A N. Williams St., for a chance to win a prize.

Winners will be drawn from correctly completed forms and notified. Contest ends Jan. 31.

2. Looking to start the year off doing some good?

The Fox Lake District Library will host an event in partnership with the Confetti Foundation to create birthday cards for children in hospitals.

Supplies will be provided. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Registration is requested, but not required. It can be completed at bit.ly/Confetti_FoxLake.

The Jake Keltner Memorial Blue Blood Drive is set from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Sage YMCA, 701 Manor Road in Crystal Lake.

For the moment, advance appointments are full for the annual blood drive held in memory of McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Keltner, who was killed on the job in 2019, but organizers are hoping to find more staff to make more appointments possible.

Walk-ins also are accepted, but there may be a bit of a wait.

To check on appointment availability, go to www.redcrossblood.org and use sponsor code Keltner.

3. More winter farmers markets are taking place in Huntley, Crystal Lake and at the McHenry County Fairgrounds in Woodstock.

The Huntley Indoor Farmers Market is held the second Saturday of each month from November through May. This coming week’s products include nut brittles, cookies and other desserts; skin and hair care products; whole leaf tea; eggs, beef, pork, chicken and seasonings; jams, salsas, dips and pickles; microgreens; knife and tool sharpening; honey; vegetables; and children’s reading and activity books.

For a full list of vendors and more information, go to huntley.il.us and look under special events.

The winter market at the McHenry County Fairgrounds runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on select Saturdays through April in building D. It offers its usual farmers market offerings, as well as wares from artisans.

For information, go to woodstockfarmersmarket.org.

Other winter farmers markets in McHenry County include the Cary Winter Farmers Market, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at Algonquin Township Road District building No. 6 at 3702 Northwest Highway, Crystal Lake.

The Farmers Market+ In The Dole will not return until Jan. 16.

4. The annual Frozen Gnome race through Veteran Acres and Sterne’s Woods in Crystal Lake is set for Saturday.

A 50K ultra run – five times around a 10K loop – as well as a 10K option will be offered. Hot food, coffee and warmth will be available at the Gnome Depot Aid Station.

“Gnome doubt about it, both courses will be tough,” organizers promise.

The 50K starts at 7:45 a.m. Saturday, and the 10K follows at 8 a.m. The cost is $120 for the 50K, and $95 for the 10K.

All finishers receive a finisher medal, and prizes are awarded to first, second and third overall male and female finishers. Awards also are awarded to the first finisher in each age group.

The race is put on by the McHenry (County) Ultra Running Dudes and Dudettes, or MUDD, which was founded in 2010 as a group of ultra and trail-running friends who share a love of trails and distance running.

For information and to register, go to runfrozengnome.com.

5. Live music will offer a reprise for those checking out the Three Oaks Recreation sledding hill this Saturday.

Mark Domanico will perform from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Quarry Cable Park & Grille, 5517 Northwest Highway in Crystal Lake, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for lunch, dinner and drinks, including hot chocolate.

The Jammin’ in January series also includes Jimmy Marquis on Jan. 15, Gina Gonzalez on Jan. 22, and Kraig Kenning on Jan. 29.

For information, go to thequarrycablepark.com.

Would you like your event featured in this weekly feature? The first step is to submit your events to the Northwest Herald’s community calendar at shawlocal.com/northwest-herald/local-events/ where they are then considered for inclusion in this feature.