NORTH AURORA – Organizers of Frosty Fest – the Fox Valley Park District’s annual outdoor celebration of everything winter – offer simple guidance for guests to get max value during their visit among Red Oak’s snow-capped trees and crunchy trails.

Just chill.

“Frosty Fest is a laid-back event for people to come out to the woods and breathe in some fresh nighttime air during the winter season,” says Christy Graser, the District’s environmental education supervisor who along with Red Oak Facility Manager Renée Oakley oversees the event.

“We intentionally host Frosty Fest after the holidays because we don’t want it to get lost during the holidays. This is a lowkey event that allows guests to go and enjoy the forest and trails at their own pace.”

This year’s event will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 27 at Red Oak, 930 N. River Rd. (Rte. 25) in North Aurora. Cost is $10 for children (2+) and $5 for adults. Tickets can be purchased online and admission includes frosty-themed activities, an adventure down Storybook Trail, snacks and warm drinks by the campfire, and a take-home gift for the kiddos.

“We try to celebrate the outdoors and bring attention to what nature does in January,” Oakley says. “We’ll talk about how our senses change in winter. We’ll see fresh tracks in the snow.”

Graser opted to push Frosty Fest’s start time back a half hour to ensure darkness.

“Winter is absolutely gorgeous after the sun goes down,” Graser says. “And when the lights hit the snow, it’s stunning.”

This year’s Frosty Fest theme is “Snowmen on the Loose,” and guests will walk Storybook Trail and “read” How to Catch a Snowman, a tale told on storyboards along the way. On the hike back along Snowflake Trail, kids will look for “runaway snowmen” before heading to the campfire for roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate.

All guests will receive a pair of Holiday Specs (parents, think movie theater 3-D glasses) which display “magical” images when the holographic lenses are aimed at bright points of light.

“They guarantee snow no matter what the weather holds!” Oakley says.

This year marks the sixth Frosty Fest and Graser said the outside temperatures have always cooperated – “We’ve never had to call it Slushy Fest,” she says – but there hasn’t always been snow.

Given the current ground cover, Red Oak promises to remain a winter wonderland at least through the weekend.

“It was like nature advertised for us,” Oakley says.