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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Chilly night in wonderland

Sasha Norman
First-year students Bhavya Sangoi and Abhishek Vallabhaneni roast marshmallows to make S’more. CAB’s Winter Wonderland event provided students with winter wonderland activities. (Sasha Norman | Northern Star)

DeKALB – A chilly breeze passed, carrying a slight scent of smoke through the night. Despite the biting cold, some passerby stopped to check out the Winter Wonderland event. 

The first annual CAB Winter Wonderland was held Monday at the Holmes Student Center and MLK commons. It featured new activities for visitors to enjoy for no charge, such as an ax throwing booth, cookie decorating, roasting marshmallows and even a petting zoo. 

Warm snacks and refreshments were also provided, including decorative cookies, hot chocolate and pretzel sticks dipped in warm chocolate sauce. 

The first activity that could be seen upon moving toward the MLK Commons was the petting zoo. Visitors were invited to enter the zoo, interact with and feed a variety of different animals as they waltzed around, emitting various quacks and baas. 

The next activity — an ax throwing booth — welcomed attendees to try their hand at hitting the target. Each player was given three axes to use and ample space from each other to throw them. 

The crowd of spectators anxious for their turn would let out “oohs” and “ahhs” each time one of the axes hit the center mark. As the sounds echoed across the commons, they would attract many more curious visitors. 

Any visitors looking to warm up stood near one of the three fire pits in front of the side entrance to defrost their freezing hands. 

However, the fire pits were more than just a source of warmth. Roasting sticks for marshmallows as well as graham crackers and chocolate for s’mores laid on a nearby table for anyone to use. 

A blow up gingerbread man and snowman lean against a window. The outside of the Holmes Student Center was adorned with Christmas themed decorations for the Winter Wonderland event. (Jonathan Shelby | Northern Star)

Attendees looking to escape the frigid, night air could step into the Holmes Student Center to enjoy sweet snacks and refreshments. 

Containers filled with warm hot chocolate were set on a table near the main entrance along with toppings such as mini-marshmallows and chocolate whipped cream. 

After the first few containers were drained, staff members replaced them with pitchers of steaming water and packets of Swiss Miss hot chocolate. Stirs were also provided after staff members collected the empty containers. 

The cookie decoration station offered oven-baked cookies and a set of toppings to choose from to decorate the cookies, including regular frosting and sprinkles. Next to it was the pretzel dipping station where visitors could dip their snack in warm, velvety chocolate and take sprinkles or candy canes. 

A table sits with pretzel making ingredients in the Holmes Student Center. Students were able to make different kinds of sweets at CAB’s Winter Wonderland event. (Jonathan Shelby | Northern Star)

Aidan O’Brien, a junior with a major in marketing and CAB president, was happy to bring new events that some students may have never experienced. 

“I think my two favorites were the petting zoo and ax throwing, just because a lot of students may have never been to a petting zoo or may have never done ax throwing,” O’Brien said. “Being able to provide those unique experiences for students is a really cool thing we get to do.”

Once the axes were shelved, the fires were extinguished and the animals were taken back home. The staff members handed out tickets to the visitors for limited edition mugs they can redeem between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at the Student Involvement Center desk area. 

Jermiah Williams, a sophomore political science major and Huskies After Dark programming chair, said she was pleased to see everyone seemed to enjoy the festivities.

“We got good reactions from everyone,” Williams said. “It was just a pleasure to see how all the events came together.”

The members of CAB are looking to host this event in the future, as well as similar events. Check the NIU event calendar or CAB’s instagram for more information on its upcoming events.

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