Snow or not, Winter Fest still a popular event
By Lucia Suarez
STAFF WRITER | February 03,2013
Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
Faith Murray, left, steadies herself with a little help from her mother Kim Murray as she walks across a tightrope type line at Saturday's WinterFest in Rutland. It was the 11th Annual Rutland WinterFest and it was co-ordinated by the Rutland Recreation Dept. The event was held at Giorgetti park. 02/02/13
Frigid temperatures and a lack of snow Saturday morning did not deter people from participating in the city’s annual Winter Fest at Giorgetti Park.
Cindi Wight, director of the city’s Recreation Department, said a nice flow of people kept spirits up throughout the day. She said the event had parking for everyone who came, unlike a couple of years ago when hundreds of people came and had to park all over the place.
“With the colder weather people don’t stay as long,” Wight said. “Even though there is no snow, people are still getting outside. The important message is that you can still be outside and having fun even if there is no snow.”
In its 11th year, Winter Fest attracted people bundled up in warm coats. They took advantage of the marshmallow roast offered by the Rutland Boys and Girls Club and the hot chocolate served by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont. The Rutland Kiwanis Club served hot dogs all day.
“It’s great to have you out and active on this nice and cold winter day,” Wight announced over the loudspeaker as people started to arrive.
Always a big hit, the snow piles drew kids of all ages and sizes trying to be the first to reach the top. This year the mounds were made with a mixture of real snow and Zamboni shavings from the Giorgetti Arena ice rink, Wight said.
“The maintenance guys are great. Last year they packed in the Zamboni snow,” she said. “The kids really love those.”
Also a hit this year was paintball, which for 6-year-old Aiden Hall was the best part of the day.
“We have to get hot chocolate before we go,” he said, rushing his mother, Sarah.
The Halls participate in the festival every year, snow or no snow. It’s something fun to do outside with the family, Sarah Hall said.
“You just have to make the best of it,” she said.
The “wife carry” and the “teddy bear carry” around a small obstacle course was a lot of fun, Wight said, especially for kids who were left out last winter when the event only offered the “wife carry.”
New events this year included broomball in the indoor ice rink and slack lines — a balancing activity in which participants walked along nylon straps hung between two trees.
“Broomball was a great addition this year,” Wight said. “We will definitely be doing it next year.”
Winter Fest has lacked snow in three of the last four years, she said, but it has continued to deliver its message: Get outside.
“Even though we don’t have snow, it’s good to get out and visit with the community,” Wight said.