Tonawanda News — Town residents — both young and old — are set to enjoy the town’s annual Winterfest Weekend, a five-day event that’s already underway.
This year’s festival marks the 12th year of Winterfest, Director of Youth, Parks and Recreation Jeff Ehlers said. The event began as a smaller, one-day winter carnival in 1980.
“We expanded it because we wanted to make it more interesting,” Ehlers said. “It would start at 8 a.m., and went to 4 or 5 p.m., but we wanted to be able to add things — like the fireworks and the hockey games.”
The expansion also allowed more of the town’s facilities to be used. The adult dance and wine sampling were held at the senior citizens’ center, and the Aquatic and Fitness Center and golf dome are used for Winterfest, as well.
The list of events grows every year, and this year, a movie — “Monsters University” — will be shown on the outside of Lincoln Arena for the first time. The film will air at 6 p.m. on Sunday, and those attending can bring chairs and blankets. There will also be seats available in the pavilion.
“We’ve never attempted this before, so hopefully it will go well, everyone will stay warm,” Recreation coordinator Mike Smith, of the town’s Youth, Parks and Recreation department, said.
For the second time, the police and the Ellwood firefighters will face off during a charity exhibition hockey game at Lincoln arena at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. Hockey teams from Canada will also compete on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2:45 p.m.
“We’ve had a rapport with those teams from Hamilton for years, and they are always exciting games,” Town Board Member Dan Crangle said.
Some of the events, such as the hayrides and fireworks, will go on if the weather permits, but officials are always hoping for some snow to fall to enhance the wintry feel of the event.