February 10, 2014
Chilly fun at WinterFest
Sledders, young hockey players, children and parents came out to enjoy the Homer WinterFest Saturday, taking advantage of the snow and ice that cold temperatures brought.
Three teams of children competed in the human dog sled circuit, racing to see who could pull their lightest member the fastest.
“We like doing all the WinterFest stuff,” said Clayton Carley, 15, of Homer who raced with his siblings Libby Carley, 13, and Olli Carley, 11. Rounding out Team Penguin were village friends Ed Barhite, 12, and Cole Amedeo, 12.
The oldest group, the Penguins, had to run the longest track, and lost its rider for a few seconds in the final pass.
Team Penguin took third with 20.5 seconds, while Team Jaguar came out on top with 18.6 seconds. Team Olaf completed its trek in 19.8 seconds.
The WinterFest kicked off Friday night with a walking ghost tour and community dance and continued Saturday with a snow sculpture contest, antiques sale and chili cook-off.
Several children from the Cortland Youth Hockey Association took time out before a game in Syracuse to hold an exhibition match on the Village Green ice rink.
Aidan Farron, 8, of Cortland, said he was enjoying the chance to shoot with his friends from the Mite Team of 6- to 8-year-olds.
“(It’s) a lot more fun to come out and play on the outside,” Farron said, adding that the group usually plays indoors at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex in Cortlandville.
Walking in the WinterFest parade, throwing candy and eating candy were other highlights, he said.
A lot more spectators were out watching the exhibition match than were at the festival last year, said Shannon Dankert of Cortland as she gazed at the handful of people gathered around the ice in single digit temperatures.
“It was much warmer this year than it was last year,” said Dankert, a parent with the group.
Not far from the rink, Jalaya Nelson, 3, had just finished her first pony ride.
Nelson went to the festival with her parents Ricardo Nelson and Mary Kuddie of Homer Avenue.
“Her mom used to ride horses, so she was ecstatic,” said Ricardo Nelson. Kuddie, who might have been having more fun petting the pony’s long winter coat than her daughter, had already dropped a couple hints about lessons for the 3-year-old.
Jalaya Nelson already rode very well on the pony, her father said.
“She liked it,” Ricardo Nelson said. “She held on.”
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