5 things to do in McHenry County

Volunteers participate in a restoration workday put on by the the Land Conservancy of McHenry County in January 2019 at the Yonder Prairie Nature Preserve outside Woodstock.

1. Downtown Crystal Lake’s winter version of its sidewalk sales – called Slidewalk Sales – has hit the streets. Running through Saturday, Jan. 15, the event has hours that vary based on each business.

“The sales provide a fabulous incentive for customers to come downtown and take advantage of deep savings on products at their favorite downtown merchants,” Downtown Crystal Lake Executive Director Diana Kenney said.

Because of the cold northern Illinois climate, most of the sales tables are inside the stores, she said.

For information, go to www.DowntownCL.org.

2. Looking to get outside? Help restore 70 acres of wet prairie, sedge meadow and oak savanna just west of Woodstock.

Restoration workdays at the Yonder Prairie Nature Preserve, 1150 S. Rose Farm Road, Woodstock, are set from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Saturday of each month, including this upcoming Saturday.

Yonder Prairie is one of five nature preserves protected by The Land Conservancy of McHenry County. Volunteers have been clearing invasive shrubs and trees from the site since 2009.

Volunteers will assist on Saturday with cutting, stacking and burning invasive brush so that native trees and plants can grow.

Registration is not required. Attendees should bring a pair of work gloves if they have them, and wear sturdy boots or shoes and old clothing. Tools will be provided.

For information, including about workdays at other sites, go to conservemc.org.

3. Another opportunity to get outdoors will be Friday and Saturday with a hike or ski by candlelight through Harrison Benwell Conservation Area.

The Harrison Benwell Conservation Area is a mix of oak and hickory savannas featuring a small meandering stream, according to the McHenry County Conservation District. The site contains a 1.6-mile trail with both a north and south loop.

Trails will be groomed for skiing if there are 4 inches or more of snow. The events will run from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Registration is not required, and attendees should meet at the Harrison Benwell shelter. The events are open to all ages, but children 13 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

The events will be canceled if the trails are hazardous, or the wind chill drops below -20 degrees.

Go to www.MCCDistrict.org for more information or weather updates.

4. The Lake in the Hills Ice Bowl Disc Golf Tournament – part of a worldwide series of disc golf events held over the winter – will take place Monday.

This is the first year for it. As part of the event, donations will be collected for the D-300 Food Pantry, the Grafton Food Pantry and the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Interfaith Food Pantry, according to the village of Lake in the Hills’ recreation division, which hosts the event.

All players age 15 years and older must submit six nonperishable food or household cleaning items, in addition to the registration fee.

Tee times start at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Linda K. Fischer Park, 5962 Grafton Farm Drive. Tickets for players ages 15 and older cost $25 for Lake in the Hills residents, or $27 for nonresidents.

Kids ages 14 and younger can play for free with a paying adult.

To select a tee time and register, go to bit.ly/LITHDiscGolf. Pre-registration is preferred, and on-site registration from 10 to 11 a.m. will be limited.

The fee includes an event souvenir, hot lunch, fire pit party and disc golf awards.

5. The McHenry Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4600 has a busy week lined up.

First, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, the post, located at 3002 Route 120 in McHenry, will host a Bob Ross-inspired Paint n’ Sip event by SIP Parties.

The cost is $30 a person, and the event is open to those age 12 years and older.

Its monthly meat raffle – held the third Saturday of each month – will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 15, with prizes awarded every five minutes. Doors open at 11 a.m.

Prizes include 18 high-quality meat products.

The cost is $20 for 30 raffle tickets, or $1 a ticket. There also will be a 50/50 raffle, prize wheel and a “loser round.”

Later that evening, the VFW will host a sock hop with music by the Rockin’ Fenderskirts.

The event takes place from 7 to 9 p.m., but attendees can come early for a prime rib dinner. Reservations are recommended.

The best two costumes will win a prize.

The cost is $15 per person at the door.

For information about any of the events, go to vfwmchenry.org/events.

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