January 27, 2009


City planning second annual Chill-A-Bration

Feb. 28 festival will include ski park, chili cook-off and winter offerings

ChillJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland art professor Vaughn Randall uses a handsaw to sculpt an 8-foot snowflake near the water fountain of Courthouse Park in 2008. Randall and his art students, in conjunction with the Cortland Downtown Partnership, made snow sculptures for last year’s Chill-A-Bration. The event will be held Feb. 28.

Staff Reporter

Chill-A-Bration, a winter festival introduced to Cortland last February, is back for a second year.
It will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 28 at Courthouse Park in downtown Cortland.
The event is being sponsored by the Cortland Downtown Partnership, the Cortland Regional Sports Council and the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce.
Adam Megivern, executive director of the Cortland Downtown Partnership, said establishing this event is important because Cortland had not had a winter tradition in previous years.
“There aren’t any events other than Chill-A-Bration to get people out enjoying recreational winter activities,” Megivern said.
Chill-A-Bration will include a terrain park and for skiers and snowboarders set up by Greek Peak ski resort in Virgil, a chili cook-off, family snow games, a snowman competition and free product testing for snow shoes.
Entries are being accepted for the chili cook-off, where contestants can win awards for best traditional and non-traditional chili in four categories. The “professional” category includes restaurants, pubs, caterers, nursing homes and college dining services. The “firehouse/emergency services” category includes paid and volunteer fire departments, police agencies and ambulance services. The “community” category includes private kitchens and not-for-profit organizations. The “fraternal” category may include groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Lions Club.
Garry VanGorder, director of the Chamber of Commerce, said “traditional chili” means a basic red chili, while a “non-traditional chili” could be a white chili, a chicken chili or a venison chili. The winners in each category will receive plaques, he said.
VanGorder said last year’s chili cook-off was an opportunity for local restaurants to “show off a little bit,” but this year the contest has expanded to allow different types of organizations and individuals to participate.
“We want people to have fun in the center of the city,” VanGorder said of Chill-A-Bration.
Megivern said that except for the food at a concession stand and the chili cook-off, all of the day’s events will be free of charge.
He said students at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES are assembling a ramp for skiers and snowboarders to ride down, and Greek Peak is bringing a jump, for people who want to become airborne, at the bottom of the ramp. Participants need to bring their own snowboards and skis to the event, Megivern said.
A member of Pennsylvania Dog Sled, a nonprofit organization, will also bring a team of racing dogs to the event. Megivern said last year a dog musher from this group demonstrated how to ride, provided some rides around the park and allowed children to pet the dogs.
Megivern said he expects the event will cost $5,000 to $6,000, between marketing, transporting equipment to the event and other costs.
He said the three organizations sponsoring the event are splitting the cost, and Greek Peak, Royal Auto Group and Builder’s Best have agreed to donate funds.


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