9 hot winter fun festivals designed for the whole family
By Sandra Scott
According to Robert Frost, “You can’t get too much winter in winter.” If weather prognosticators are to be believed, this winter may test that axiom. For many, winter means skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing or ice skating. But what if those activities aren’t to your liking? Not to worry. There are plenty of winter fun activities designed for the whole family.
1. Oswego County’s winter festivals cover two weekends and two cities. Head to Pulaski Jan. 26 through 28 for the Salmon River Winter Festival with snowshoe walk/run, sled dogs, children’s activities, a chili walk on Saturday and a wing walk on Sunday. On the weekend of Feb. 3–4 Warm Up Oswego is the place to be for the Hot 2k Trot Race, snow scavenger hunt, chili cook-off and many other activities.
2. Syracuse will host its annual WinterFest from Feb. 15 through 25. Thousands attend each year. The events are spread out and there is something for everyone with both indoor and outdoor events. Enjoy games, music and cook-offs.
3. Saranac Lake’s Annual Winter Carnival is a must-do — at least once. It is ranked as the “Number Two Winter Festival” by National Geographic Traveler. This year’s winter wonderland is scheduled Feb. 3 through 12. Besides the amazing ice palace, the 10-day festival will feature fireworks, concerts, games and parades.
4. Clayton’s Harbor Hotel is known for its Fire & Ice Bar. For one weekend in February the hotel hauls in over 20,000 pounds of ice that are carved into fantastic ice sculptures. This year’s event will be held 5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 15 though 17. Besides the ice sculptures, there will be music, hors d’oeuvres and the best part, part of the proceeds will be donated to the North Country Troopers Assisting Troops.
5. Saratoga’s Chowderfest scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 3 is a family friendly event with more than 80 vendors — including Saratoga County’s best restaurants and caterers — who open their doors and serve hot bowls of chowder. The weekend features live music, wine tasting and other fun activities.
6. Tannersville’s Ice Sculpture Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 18, is for those who want to try their hand at ice sculpting. Bring the family, your tools and carve a sculpture or enjoy watching others express their artistic ability. Tannersville is called the Painted Village because the main street is lined with renovated buildings that are cheerfully painted and now house unique stores and restaurants. Tannersville is near Hunter Mountain with a variety of fun in the snow activities.
7. Lake George’s Winter Carnival has been held every year since 1961 with a variety of activities every weekend in February. Visitors can expect chili, a barbecue and chicken wing cook-off, snowmobile races and the popular outhouse race.
8. Fairport hosts the New York Ice Wine & Culinary Festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 24 with wine tasting, wine seminars, vineyard horse-drawn wagon ride, wine infused food, live music and more. Save by pre-purchasing tickets for the event.
9. Easter is the harbinger of spring. Celebrate the end of winter with a ride on the Adirondack Railroad. The fun starts at the historic Utica Station where there is an Easter egg hunt and photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny. The event is scheduled for the weekend of April 1.