MAYVILLE, NY (WNY News Now) — The Mayville Winterfest returns this weekend, however due to unusually warm weather this year’s festival will look a little different.
The star attraction of the Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival is the ice castle, carved from chunks of ice harvested from a frozen Chautauqua Lake, however with no lake ice around, an alternative attraction is planned.
“So the weather hasn’t been ideal for building an ice castle,“ explained Brian Pender with the Mayville-Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce. “Or even in years past we’ve done a snow castle. We don’t even have that this year, so we still have our full agenda of events, we’ve added some new items this year. So, we’re just trying to keep a positive outlook and know that it brings thousands of people to our community every year. I actually think with the nice weather we might have a strong of a turn out as ever.”
Instead of using ice, this year organizers plan to repurpose their Jamestown Christmas Parade float which will be featured during a special lighting ceremony Friday night at 6 o’clock where the King and Queen of the castle will be crowned.
Even with the warmer weather, festivities Saturday and Sunday are still planned.
“The polar plunge will be a little bit different,“ stated Pender. “We won’t be able to go out on the ice and do a dive into the deeper water, so we’ll just run in from the beach in Lakeside Park. We have a 5k that is back for the second year Sunday morning. The volleyball tournament is a new tournament this year. We’ve had to take away some things like Ice carving and Snowmobile rides, but we’ve been able to make it up with some sunshine and warmer temps.”
While not related to the festival, winter activities like ice fishing which routinely draws folks to Chautauqua Lake this time of year are also on hold.
“Dangerous conditions to be out on whatever ice is left there,“ explained Pender. “From what I’ve heard the ice fishing competition is going to be postponed. It’s just not the right year for it.”
Festivities continue all weekend long, with several traditions on Saturday including carriage rides, chili cook-off and evening fireworks.
A full breakdown is posted online at chautauquachamber.org/winter-festival.