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Rain or snow, Winterfest will go on

| Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, 9:27 p.m.

For the past several years, the organizers and sponsors of the Ohiopyle annual Winterfest have worked to keep the event exciting and entertaining for people of all ages who like to enjoy some great outdoor fun.

The event was started to help utilize the park in the winter months while offering those in the area an opportunity to experience some cold-weather activities.

“We started this for a few different reasons,” Ohiopyle Park assistant manager Stacie Hall said of the event. “There were people who mentioned to us that they did not realize that the state parks were even open in the winter, and it's also a good way to get people out and active in the winter.”

The event will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and will take place at the Sugarloaf Sledding area.

Last year, Mother Nature did not cooperate and there was not any snow on the ground to enjoy, but the organizers were ready with an array of activities to entertain the crowds that did not require a covering of snow.

“Either way, snow or no snow, we will have activities for people to enjoy,” Hall said.

Snow-based activities will include sledding, snowshoe and cross country skiing demonstrations, and horse-drawn carriage rides.

Other activities and programs will include winter and outdoor survival demonstrations, open fire pits for popcorn roasting, games, and food prepared by the Ohiopyle Bakery.

The event is being jointly hosted by the park and members of the Friends of Ohiopyle group who welcome the hundreds that attend every year.

“We get really nice crowds,” Hall said. “We have between 500 and 2,000 every year. We get mainly a local crowd, but we do get people from all over the area.”

New to the event this year will be additional parking and a vault toilet that is now located at the top of Sugarloaf hill.

It is recommended that those who attend dress comfortably in layers and be prepared to enjoy outdoor activities.

“It's a nice event, and we will have programs and activities planned for snow or for no snow,” Hall said.

The event is free to attend and the skiing and snowshoe demonstrations are free to participate in, but there is a small charge for the horse-drawn carriage ride.

Follow signs from the main falls area to the event location.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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