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January 11, 2014

Celebrating the fun side of winter

Tonawanda News — After a few weeks that have left local residents not precisely enamored of Western New York’s wintery weather, the Town of Tonawanda is gearing up to celebrate the more enjoyable aspects of the season.

The town’s annual Winterfest, which started with a one-day winter carnival that has since grown to a five-day event, will kick off Thursday with the adult Winterfest Dance at the Senior Center and continue through the weekend with ice skating, hockey, a wine sampling, children’s activities, hayrides and more.

Recreation coordinator Mike Smith, of the town’s Youth, Parks and Recreation department, said that one new feature will be a movie shown Sunday outside Lincoln Arena by DFK Pavilion. “Monsters University” will be projected onto the arena wall, and those attending can bring chairs and blankets with which to bundle up and watch the film. (There will also be an area inside the pavilion where people can watch in somewhat warmer conditions.)

“We’re never attempted this before, so hopefully it will go well, everyone will stay warm,” he said. 

Other popular features include a concert featuring Bryan Berhalter to take place from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the pavilion, the fire pit and fireworks which, weather permitting, will take place at 6:30 p.m. Smith said that many groups tend to congregate around the fire for the show and festivities.

“That’s great for families,” he said. “We have anything from babies to those 80 years old.”

Another popular event, back for its second year, is the charity hockey game featuring members of the town police vs. Ellwood Fire Department personnel. The game, which was very well-attended last year, will take place at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Smith said. Donations will benefit the WNY Child Advocacy Center. 

“The reason they’re coming is for a good cause,” Smith said, “And anytime people can come out and support charity, that’s a good thing.”

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