Warm weather encouraged a large turn-out for the 30th annual Winter Festival in Mayville over the weekend.
It was one of the best polar plunges on record - enough ice to jump into yet warm weather for an easy recovery. There were so many "walk-ons" that the Dewittville Fire Department organizers lost count of the number of souls who dared to jump into icy Chautauqua Lake.
Another traditional outdoor event, the horse-drawn carriage ride provided by Magic Moments was popular as well with close to 100 rides provided on Saturday alone.
Photos by Tonja Dodd
Families enjoyed carriage rides pulled by Magic Moments carriages all weekend at the event in Mayville.
The ice castle, snowmobile rides and winter slide were a few activities the weather did not permit. However, that didn't matter, the playground was dry and temperatures so balmy that kids played on the playground with glee. Corry, Pa., father Mike Wilson was forward looking to a day of adventure for himself and his daughter Emily, 6, while his wife was working. The two were thrilled to be lakeside, swinging on the swings after they enjoyed crafts, Legos and balloon animals indoors.
Some traditional snow events were transitioned indoors. Children built snowmen out of marshmallows and colored paper snowmen instead of using the real white stuff. The snowmen creations along with Lego architecture and Rainbow the Clown were big hits in the community building.
Sophie Evan, 6, of Jamestown came to the event with her parents Josh and Jamie and enjoyed the activities including the balloons Rainbow the Clown created.
"We like to find fun stuff to do on the weekends to get out of the house. And it was so nice today we thought we would come to the Winter Festival," Jamie said.
An outdoor tent sheltered vendors and tables while more vendors parked outdoors. Young vacationer Sofia Rawschert of Akron, Ohio had fun creating a natural bird feeder at an activity booth sponsored by the Girl Scouts. Her father, Ingmar stated they came here for the snow.
"(Western New York) is the only place where there is snow," he said.
The family skied in the area Friday and enjoyed the Festival in Mayville over the weekend. They come often and stay at their cottage on Chautauqua Lake, relishing the tranquility of the lake.
Winter Festival event organizer Deborah Marsala, community coordinator of the Mayville/Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce, was pleased with the turnout.
"We have had a tremendous event. It feels like a carnival with well over 30 activities for the public to participate. We are very proud of the event this year," she said.
Marsala explained the event started in 1987 when a new member of the community from Minnesota recognized, with the snowy weather and access to icy Chautauqua Lake, Mayville would be a perfect spot for an ice castle and winter festival, similar to his hometown.
A new activity this year was a scavenger hunt that takes place throughout the month of February. The public is invited to find the Winter Festival logo placed at local businesses. Entry forms are available at the businesses or through the Chamber.