MAYVILLE –The annual Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival was kicked off Friday night with the lighting of the ‘snow castle’ at Lakeside Park in Mayville.
Nick Andriaccio and his ‘ice men’ worked all week long building the castle.
Due to the mild winter, Andriaccio says for the first time in the festival’s history, the castle was constructed of a combination of snow and ice.
“We prefer ice, we like to cut the ice, it is a little more transparent you can put lights inside of it but now that we know the snow can work we can do a combination, we can do ice and snow,” said Andriaccio.
The Village of Mayville started piling snow for the castle late last month. Andriaccio says his crew of 12 to 15 used totes of snow mixed with ice to mold into blocks. The totes would sit overnight creating a similar texture to the ice.
Vince Liuzzo, a chainsaw carver and owner of Vince the Tree Guy in Jamestown, hand crafted many features of the castle including the heart arch and windows.
Following the lighting Friday night, Tricia and Norman Smith, owners of Lighthouse Point Grocery, were crowned king and queen of the castle.
Norman Smith says the winter festival helps local drive local businesses during the area’s off season.
“This time a year when there isn’t much going on it is pretty easy to get down but it is so busy the rest of the year its nice to have a little down time,” said Smith. “Then have a spike like this is really good for everybody.”
The lighting of the castle was followed by the Queen of Hearts Ice Ball, a night of music, dancing and food trucks, in a nearby heated party tent.
The festival will feature several new events and activities, and continue many introduced last year, including the return of a beer and wine tent, pond hockey and a children’s activity tent.
On Saturday night the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club will host a fireworks display and flare parade.