Winterfest kicks off on Feb. 17

Annual event will include ice castle sculpture, cook off and concerts among other activities furing the next two weeks.

Even with the winter dragging on, the people of Syracuse have something to celebrate this week. The annual Syracuse Winterfest kicks off this Thursday in downtown Syracuse and surrounding areas. The festival will go on until Feb. 27.  

Bill Cooper, President of Winterfest, has been involved in producing the event since it began in 1985. 

“The first year, we had over 100 ideas. We keep integrating them over the years,” Cooper said. “There are a lot of things with food and entertainment.”

The date of the festival has been moved around over the years. Originally, the festival used to be in December and January, but the snow would melt, Cooper said. The Board of Syracuse WinterfestWinterfest tries to create events that are snow dependent and is displaying a new ice castle sculpture this year.

This year, Cooper and the Board decided to plan the festival during the Syracuse School District winter break.

“It will be something for the kids to do with their families,” he said.

However, events are directed to appeal to all ages, not just children. Over the 10 days, Winterfest will host a martini mix-off, cook offs, and concerts for all music tastes. The festival also includes different Syracuse University sporting events. Men and women basketball and lacrosse games will be taking place while the festival is going on, along with several women’s ice hockey games. 

Many downtown restaurants and shops are involved in the festival. Businesses donate all kinds of products and services in addition to participating in the events, Cooper said. Price Chopper is the main corporate sponsor.

All the events are moderately charged so that everyone can enjoy the activities.

“It boosts the economy for the city,” Cooper said. “At the same time, there is this enjoyment that people get out of sharing their community with their family and friends.”


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