WEST PLATTSBURGH — Although the weather has been a bit stubborn this winter, organizers of Winterfest 2020 say the event will go on.

"Mother Nature has not been at her finest, but she hasn't failed us yet," Winterfest Co-Director Dave Mayette said.

The 13th annual Winterfest celebration had been scheduled for Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 and 2, but warm temperatures prevented the pond at Fountain Brothers American Legion Post 1619 on Rand Hill Road from freezing.

The pond is the site of the popular curling event.

"If we don't have curling, we don't have Winterfest pretty much," Mayette said.

"It's a big draw and the reason why a lot of people come here."

Mayette and the other organizers opted to delay the event by two weeks in hopes of colder weather. They got their wish as the pond ice is now thick enough, Mayette said.

But last week's snow storm dumped several inches of snow on the ice, and recent warmer temperatures have created a layer of slush.

Mayette has been working with snowblowers this week to clear four lanes for curling.

"We won't have the whole pond cleared off like we usually do, but we will have enough room for curling," he said,

"The lanes will be narrow and probably have snow banks on the sides so it might wind up being like bumper pool."

More help arrived Wednesday and a larger area was able to be cleared for curling, and the scoring circles painted on.

Temperatures are expected to dip below zero Fahrenheit Thursday night into Friday morning, which could wind up being perfect for the venue.

"You watch," Mayette said.

"This ice will be as smooth as a baby's bottom."

Other changes due to the weather include moving the sledding hill from the side of the legion to a makeshift slope on the south side of the property.

The ice skating rink also will not be available.

But no other events are expected to be affected.

"The weather almost canceled us one year, but we managed and we will again this year," Mayette said.

The popular $1 menu featuring michigans, hot dogs, fries and much more will also be available.

All proceeds from the three-day event will go towards helping local veterans.

"We do this for the vets and it is a fun day for families to come out and enjoy so it's worth all the work," Mayette said.

Email Joe LoTemplio:


Twitter: @jlotemplio

Staff Writer at Press-Republican since November of 1985. Has covered just about all beats at the paper, including sports.Currently covers government and politics. Graduated from Plattsburgh State in 1985. Originally from Rochester, NY.

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