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.”
Other events are:
• THURSDAY: Adult Winterfest Dance, 7 to 10 p.m., Town of Tonawanda Senior Center, 291 Ensminger Road. Cost is $7; preregistration is necessary. Call 874-3266.
• FRIDAY: Free recreational skating, 6:45 to 8:15 p.m., Lincoln Arena, 1200 Parker Blvd. Winterfest wine sampling, 7 to 10 p.m., Town of Tonawanda Senior Center. Tickets for the wine tasting must be purchased in advance.
• SATURDAY: All events are at Lincoln Arena or park. Girls 12U Lighting Hockey, 8:30 a.m. Grill at the Dome one pitch men’s outdoor softball tournament, starting at 10 a.m. (Preregistration required; call 831-1001). Thunder Select hockey games vs. Coronation, 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Ice-carving demonstration. Skating lessons exhibit, 3 to 4 p.m. Mini-Mite hockey games, 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Family activities, balloons in DFK Pavilion, hayrides in Lincoln Park, noon to 4 p.m. Saxman Slim performs from 1 to 2 p.m. and Mr. NO The Balloon Guy performs from 2 to 4 p.m. in the pavilion. Fire pit starting at 6:15 p.m. Fireworks at 6:30 p.m. Bryan Berhalter performs from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Free recreational skate from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
• SUNDAY: 3 on 3 youth hockey tournament at Lincoln and Brighton arenas, 7 to 11:15 a.m. (Registration is finished.) Town police vs. Ellwood Firemen charity hockey exhibition game, 11:30 a.m. Co-ed adult outdoor softball tournament starts at noon. Snow disc golf takes place. Family activities from 1 to 5 p.m. at Lincoln Park, including snowmobile rides and hayrides from 1 to 4:45 p.m. Free family skate, carnival and music from 1 to 3 p.m. at Lincoln Arena. Magician Robert Allen, 2 p.m. in the DFK Pavilion. Twelfth annual Winterfest Classic featuring Ken East Federation vs. Ken West Federation hockey, 3:45 to 5:45 p.m. “Monsters University” shown outside, 6 p.m., Lincoln Arena. Recreational skate, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. International Model Boat demonstration, noon to 4 p.m., Aquatic & Fitness Center. UNYTS blood drive, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Aquatic & Fitness Center. Free recreational swim with disc jockey, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Aquatic & Fitness Center.
• MONDAY: Studio-style “Family Feud,” 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sheridan Parkside Community Center, 169 Sheridan Parkside. Town invitational swim meet, 1 p.m. Aquatic & Fitness Center. Town police-sponsored skate, 2:45 to 3:45 p.m., Lincoln Arena. Parent/child golf tournament, 5 p.m., Paddock Chevrolet Golf Dome, 175 Brompton Road. Registration is required.IF YOU GO • WHAT: Winterfest Weekend • WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 16 through Monday, Jan. 20 • WHERE: Locations throughout the Town of Tonawanda, including the town Senior Center, 291 Ensminger Road; Lincoln Arena, 1200 Parker Blvd.; Brighton Arena, 251 Brompton Road; Lincoln Park; Aquatic & Fitness Center, 1 Pool Plaza; the Sheridan Parkside Community Center, 169 Sheridan Parkside; and the Paddock Chevrolet Golf Dome, 175 Brompton Road. • FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call 831-1001 or visit www.tonawanda.ny.us/. Preregistration is required for some activities.