This weekend is the Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival in Mayville, NY. The highlight of the festival, at least for Bob and me, is the castle made of ice blocks. The first winter festival held in Mayville was in February 1987. Bob and I attended this year’s festival on Saturday. As in past years the festival was held on the grounds of Lakeside Park, located on the shores of Chautauqua Lake.
We parked in a lot off Valley Street ($5.00 donation to park) and walked across NYS Route 394 to the ice castle. We didn’t stop at the ice castle. We walked past the gazebo to the park building, located at the opposite end of the park. During our walk we ran into a friend, Pete F., and his wife, Linda. We said hi to Pete, who then introduced us to Linda. The four of us chatted for a short time, before continuing our separate ways.
We walked into the park building and looked around. Inside the park building we found restrooms and a few vendors. We noticed tables where tickets were being sold for a scavenger hunt and for the beer and wine tent. Leaving the park building, we walked out on the ice-covered Chautauqua Lake.
While on the lake, it was announced a few times that anyone on the ice were on it at their own risk. I read in a local newspaper article that the ice on Chautauqua Lake a few weeks ago was approximately 12- to 18-inches thick and had melted down to a mere 6 inches. There was a square cut into the ice that would be the location of the polar bear plunge later in the day.
Everyone was warned to stay 50 feet away from that opening in the ice.
We stopped at each vendor tent on our way back to the ice castle. There were food tents, a beer and wine tent, a wood carver, at least one game of chance, and a vendor tent.
It didn’t take long to make our way back to the ice castle.
It was 12:30 pm, when we made it back to the ice castle. I wanted to stay for the polar bear plunge, but the plunge wouldn’t happen until 2:00 pm. It was cold. We weren’t hungry, and there wasn’t anything going on at the festival that would hold our attention for 1 1/2 hours. So, we left for home soon after returning to the ice castle. I guess we should have timed our arrival closer to the time of the polar bear plunge. Oh, and fireworks would be set off later in the evening. We didn’t see the fireworks either.