Parks and Recreation Superintendent Erin E. Gardner just hopes the plentiful snow we have now holds up for the new version of Snowtown USA, the festival that pays homage to the north countrys wintry weather.
On Wednesday morning, organizers announced the schedule for the six-day festival that features 34 events and activities, beginning with New Years Eve fireworks at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds and culminating with closing ceremonies Sunday, Jan. 5.
Its going to be fun, she said, adding there will will be something for everybody and for all ages.
Snowtown USA will include a hockey tournament to raise money for the Wounded Warrior program, a winter softball tournament, snow sculptures, outdoor skating, a Watertown Privateers hockey game and other activities.
It also will feature two New Years Eve get-togethers: a party at the Italian-American Civic Association, Bellew Avenue, from 7 to 10 p.m. and a Zoo Years Eve gala at the Hilton Garden Inn at 7 p.m.
Other events are an ugly sweater contest, Snowtown Karaoke, a chicken wing-eating contest and a Red and Black snow football game. The New York State Zoo at Thompson Park will hold a Winter Wonderland Weekend from Jan. 2 to 5.
A group of volunteers, city Parks and Recreation Department officials, the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce and others put together the festival. Organizers found businesses to sponsor some of the events.
Mrs. Gardner and Parks Department Program Manager Celia E. Cook looked at old newspaper articles to come up with ideas for activities and events held during the height of Snowtown USAs popularity more than 20 years ago.
The idea was born from a Facebook comment last summer by resident Maura M. Dawley, who had about 50 people commenting that it would be great to bring it back.
During its heyday, the 10-day festival that let residents thumb their noses at Old Man Winter featured snow sculpture competitions, hockey tournaments, an open skating rink at the Park Circle and other events.
CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite actually coined the phrase Snowtown USA. A few years later, organizers used it for the name of the new festival.
Six days of festivities are scheduled
Following is the schedule of events planned for the Snowtown USA Fesetival: Dec. 31 • Fireworks Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds; 6 p.m. • Snowtown NYE Celebration Italian-American Civic Association; 7 to 10 p.m. • Zoo Years Eve Hilton Garden Inn; 7 p.m. Jan. 1 • Resolution 5K race Thompson Park/Zoo; time TBA • Snowperson making contest Fairgrounds; 10 a.m. • Loco for Hot Cocoa 1K Childrens obstacle course Fairgrounds; 11 a.m. • YMCA Family Snow Kickball Game Fairgrounds; 11:30 a.m. • PJ Public Skate Arena; Noon to 2 p.m. • Watertown Privateers Game Ice Arena; 4 p.m. • Privateers Meet and Greet Maggies on the River; following hockey game Jan. 2 • Snowshoe tour Thompson Park; 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. • Horse-drawn carriage rides Thompson Park; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Dog sled rides Thompson Park; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Snowtown Zoo festivities Zoo; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. • Ugly Sweater Public Skate Ice Arena; Noon to 2:30 p.m. • IHC High School hockey game Arena; 5 p.m. • North Country Reflects Flower Memorial Library; 5 to 7 p.m. • Snowtown Karaoke Maggies on the River; 7 p.m. Jan. 3 • Favorite Sports Team Public Skate Ice Arena; noon to 2:30 p.m. • Chicken Wing Eating Contest Buffalo Wild Wings; time TBA • Snow Softball Tournament Fairgrounds; 5 p.m. • Wounded Warrior hockey tournament Arena; 7 p.m. Jan. 4 • Red and Black snow football game Fairgrounds; 10 a.m. n Snowtown Cake Wars Jefferson County Agricultural Building; 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. • Craft Fair Jefferson County Agricultural Building; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. • Crazy Hat Public Skating Arena; 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. • Outdoor Coed Hockey Game Fairgrounds; 2 p.m. • Wounded Warriors hockey tournament Arena; 9 a.m. to noon, 3 to 9 p.m. • Snowtown USA event party Maggies on the River; 10 p.m. • Snow Softball tournament Fairgrounds; time TBA • Annie in the Water Dry Hill TBA
Jan. 5 • Character Breakfast, Maggies on the River 9 a.m. to noon • Mismatch Public Skate Arena; 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. • Snow Softball tournament Fairgrounds; time TBA • Wounded Warrior tournament Arena 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., 3 to 6 p.m. • Closing Ceremonies Torch Parade and Fireworks Dry Hill; dusk • Snow sculptures downtown Throughout the festival • Winter Wonderland Weekend at the Zoo at Thompson Park Jan. 2 to 5
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