Sled dog races bring people from near and far to Chapman State Park for Warren County Winterfest.
Annette Riggle said she traveled from Vandergrift in Westmoreland County in order to watch. It marks the second time she's attended the races, she said.
Event volunteer Anna Reeley said competitors come from all over, including New Jersey and Maryland. Friday's mid-distance race drew competitors mostly from Pennsylvania and Ohio, she said.
Times Observer photo by Colin Kyler
Lead the way
Herb Brambley rides behind his team of dogs in the mid-distance sled dog races held Friday at Chapman State Park. It was one of the opening events at this weekend’s Winterfest.
Park Manager Jim McCorkle said the races are set so they don't coincide with others in the area. He said that can lead to tough decisions of when to schedule them.
This year's races compare well to previous ones, Reeley said, with the track allowing competitors to move quickly. The snow helped to create that condition, she said.
"We're glad to have everyone," McCorkle said. "It's a big deal."
To prepare for Winterfest, McCorkle said the staff at the park has worked hard the last two weeks. Maintenance is required for the parking lots, he said, as well as the ice skating areas.
Over the weekend, McCorkle said they will also be conducting programs for the public. One will cover old-fashioned ice harvesting methods, he said, while other topics include winter birding and snow shoes.
"Everyone has something to enjoy," Reeley said.
According to McCorkle, attendance will largely depend on the type of weather the area receives. The appearance of Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley in the Polar Plunge event should draw people, he said.
Those traveling to the park on Saturday should come early, McCorkle said, and dress warm. Most of all, he encouraged visitors to have fun.
Some of the Winterfest events over the weekend include:
The Polar Plunge at 1 p.m. Saturday
Sled riding races at noon Saturday
Figure skating exhibition at 3 p.m. Saturday
Cardboard box derby at 2 p.m. Sunday