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Busy day planned at Chapman on Saturday for Winterfest

Times Observer file photo Mason Zercher of York and Jaylen Gonzalez of Hershey make snow angels at Chapman State Park during Winterfest in 2022. This year’s event might be absent much snow but organizers have still outlined plenty to do on Saturday.

Sometimes winter doesn’t feel – or act – like winter.

The potential for a lack of snow always makes planning for Warren County Winterfest, set for this Saturday at Chapman State Park, a challenge.

And while there’s unlikely to be much snow or ice for this year’s version of the event, organizers have planned activities that will go on without it.

“There’s still things to do,” Savannah Casey, director of operations for the WCCBI, said.

Events are set throughout the day on Saturday and all will take place on the beach side of the park.

The main event tent with vendors will be located at Parking Lot 1, according to a Wednesday update from the Chamber.

Food trucks will be located at the concession stand near the beach.

“All-day” events include horse-drawn carriage rides, sled-dog demonstrations, family games and educational activities.

The sled dog demonstrations will be provided by Sled Dogs of Smokey Hill, a new addition to this year’s Winterfest coming from Bradford County.

“Kids and families can interact and see the dogs up close,” John Papalia, senior vice president at the Chamber said.

He said they offer cardboard box races – kids can make a sled or bring their own – and education seminars, as well, at the group tenting area on the sledding hill side of the park.

20 cardboard sleds will be selected to run and Casey said a trophy will be presented to the best looking sled, the sled that survives as well as the fastest.

She said the group also donates pet supplies back to the local shelter.

Horse drawn carriage rides will be $5 each and kids can ride on a parent for free.

Papalia said the carriage rides will start on the beach side towards the campground.

“We’re trying to do a good job spreading things out at the park,” he added.

The Polar Plunge, a benefit for the Salvation Army, will dive into the lake starting at 2 p.m.

A full list of events, which also includes a mountain bike ride, water rescue demo and a number of food vendors is available at warrenwinterfest.com.

While organizers can’t predict the weather, the number of activities is slowly growing.

The Chamber has only been leading the planning for Winterfest for a couple years and Papalia said the goal has been to “get the event re-established. We’ve done a solid job of continuing to slowly grow the event back out.

“Each year we try to improve it a little bit.”

One such improvement? Craid Lindquist and Viking Restorations have engineered a better way to circulate heat in the event tent.

“There are so many key partners (that come together) to make this event happen,” Papalia said, crediting park staff with their commitment to the event. “They were the ones that helped us get connected with the educational sled dog (group.”

“They want to see it stay and grow to a big event,” Casey added.

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