March 1, 2010


Snow enlivens Chill-A-Bration

Third annual festival brings chance to 'chill out' in Courthouse Park

SnowJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
From right, Dom, 12, Sam, 14, and Marissa Travis, 14, of Cortland work together to create a phone booth packed with Disney characters for the Chill-A-Bration snow sculpting competition Saturday at Courthouse Park in Cortland.

Staff Reporter

Mildly cold temperatures and a happy crowd having plenty of fun in the snow Ñ they made a perfect mixture for CortlandÕs Chill-A-Bration winter festival Saturday, as far as Freeville residents Todd and Wendy Hawkins were concerned.
They brought their 4-year-old daughter Delaney to Chill-A-Bration this year for a chance to enjoy themselves after dealing with two days of heavy snowfall.
"We needed to get out of the house, it's been a snow day for the past two days," Wendy Hawkins said.
Courthouse Park was transformed into a kind of winter wonderland for the third annual winter festival, with local families and their friends taking part in snow-themed activities.
Cortland Downtown Partnership Director Adam Megivern thought the recent snowstorm provided a good setup for the festival, even though the temperatures were not quite freezing.
"A couple days of heavy snow, and people are ready to come out and do something fun," Megivern said.
Mild temperatures did not seem to bother those who attended Chill-A-Bration, especially since there was still plenty of snow.
"The temperature is actually really good for this," Wendy Hawkins said.
Attractions seen in the past two winter carnivals were back this year, including a dunking booth, snowboard ramp, a sled dog team giving rides to children, chili tasting and the beer tent.
The new feature was a snow maze, which took volunteers, mostly from AmeriCorps, about four days to complete, Megivern said.
Construction for the snow maze began during the week before the winter festival, but it took extra work to clean out after the Thursday evening snow storm filled it up, Megivern said.
"It was quite a bit of labor," he said.
The maze was set up in the park across from the Cortland County Courthouse.
After making his second trip through the snow maze, 3-year-old Landon DePerry said he loved it. He was accompanied by his grandmother Karen DeWitt, of Homer.
Situated at the edge of the Courthouse Park, next to Church Street, several local residents vied for a chance to win this year's snow sculpting contests. There were five sculptures entered.
Tyler Bogardus of Groton spent about three hours building a roughly 8-feet-tall replica of the White Witch's castle from the C.S. Lewis series "Chronicles of Narnia." Using a picture as his guide, Bogardus crafted a block-shaped foundation and topped it with four pointed towers.
The snow was easy to pack, he said, making the sculpting not very difficult.
"I thought it would be harder, but it was very good," Bogardus said.
Nearby, Cortland resident Dan Travis and his family built an 8-foot-tall phone booth and crammed it with as many cartoon characters as they could.
Faces of characters from Peanuts or the Smurfs could be seen bulging out of the crowded phone booth.
Travis, who builds snow sculptures outside his Homer Avenue home for fun, brought his three children and some friends to help Saturday.
"They bugged me to come down, so I said, OK," Travis said, smiling.


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