Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival
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.
6 Responses to “Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival”
I got cold just looking at your pictures — I can understand why you didn’t want to stick around for the polar plunge, although that would have been interesting.
Your post took me back in time to my old hometown where an Ice Fiesta was held each year around this time. The beautiful big ice palace was built by the local firemen and tickets were sold to establish who would be crowned the ice queen. One year a proud dad bought hundreds of tickets to ensure his daughter would become the queen and she was. In subsequent years they changed the rules and it was done by a popular vote, lol! There was a parade and ski jumping demo amongst other things and a big dance that evening. I think it was the annual largest draw of people to my small town and so exciting for me as a kid! Thanks for your post Linda; it brought back many fun memories of my childhood.
Your childhood ice fiesta sounds like a wonderful event.
I wouldn’t have wanted to stand around in that either! Like George, I get cold just looking at your photos.
Hello, looks like a fun time as long as you are bundled up and warm. I like the ice castle, great photos.
Wishing you a happy day and new week ahead.
Ice festivals always sound like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing these photos, all very enjoyable. I wouldn’t have hung around for that polar bear plunge either. The spirit would have been willing but the body would have been turning into a popsicle 🙂