Tonawanda News

January 18, 2014

Town holds annual Winterfest

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

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.

“We were going to have snowshoes up there, but I don’t know if it’s going to happen, because the sun has melted any surface snow we had. We would have to have a few inches of snow to make it really work,” Ehlers said. 

Shawn Smith, of the National Weather Service, said some light snow is expected to fall Friday night and Saturday morning. 

“We’re calling for no more than about 2 inches of snow,” he said. “It’ll then taper off throughout the day.” 

Here’s a list of the remaining events:

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 firefighters 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.

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.