OKOBOJI, Iowa (KCAU) — One of Okoboji’s biggest events of the year is taking place this weekend. The weekend-long Okoboji Winter Games is expected to provide a fun boost to the city’s economy.

“Here’s what I’m going to say about the set up for the winter games, our set up at Parks Marina and the Barefoot Bar, takes an army,” said the Director of Marketing for Parks Marina Properties, Debbie Parks.

One of these events that takes a lot of cooperation is the Battle of the Bartenders, a charity event returning for the 42nd annual University of Okoboji Winter Games weekend.

The name of the game is, if you sip, you tip. The top three bartenders that make the most tips will split the proceeds for the charity of their choice.

With plenty of pent-up energy and people being eager to get back to the lakes, this weekend is expected to have its largest turnout ever.

“Hotels will be full. We got all our staff back from summer and of course our year around staff, but for sure this is going to pad their pockets a little bit, as well as the businesses in town. The hospitality industry took a hit the last year or two with the pandemic and it definitely keeps the heaters on and the payroll going,” said

The thousands of people expected to attend the Winter Games over the weekend will leave a lasting impact on the community.

“Huge economic impact for our community is in the off-season. The Okoboji area is certainly known for its summer and the 4th of July and things like that, but in the wintertime, this is really something and keeps our restaurants open and kind of kicks them over until spring,” said the CEO of Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Blain Andera.

The event goes on until Sunday with dozens of games and events each day, including helicopter rides, flag football on the pond and the infamous Polar Plunge.

More information on the event can be found here.