Winterfest 2020 set for January 18

Winterfest 2020 set for January 18These youngsters are excited with their ride down Beach Front Hill at Hills Creek State Park during a recent Winterfest. This year's Winterfest will be on Saturday, Jan. 18. Photo credit: John Eaton.

Winterfest 2020 will offer free, fun, family friendly snow and no snow, ice and no ice events on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hills Creek State Park located at 111 Spillway Rd., eight miles from Wellsboro. Everything is free. 

If snow and ice conditions allow, there will be the traditional Winterfest tubing, tobogganing, sledding and snowboarding on Beach Front Hill; snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on park trails and ice skating on Hills Creek Lake as well as 30-minute snowshoe and cross-country ski mini-clinics for all ages with information on how to purchase the best equipment to meet people’s needs. 

Tubes for two and some sleds, ice skates, snowshoes and cross-country skis, boots and poles will be available to sign out and use free during the day; quantities are limited. Those who have their own equipment are encouraged to bring it.

Find out about a new form of winter fun. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tom Gibson of Milton will demonstrate and talk about his invention, the Tracker Skishoe, a combination ski and snowshoe with a built-in traction device. He developed skishoes to explore new routes in powder and crusted snow and to kick-and-glide on steeper and icier terrain. There will be several pairs of Gibson’s new, longer skishoes for people to look at, put on, and try out. 

Winterfest 2020 set for January 18
Addie (shown) makes a bluebird nesting box to take home with assistance provided by Sean Minnick of the Tiadaghton Audubon Society. Just like last year, people can build a bluebird nesting box using free materials. Provided photo.

Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., representatives from Oswald Cycle Works in Mansfield and CS Sports in Wellsboro will talk about, demonstrate and let visitors try out snow bikes with fat tires that provide better grip and traction on snowy hills, wet asphalt, muddy paths and sandy beaches.

At 10 a.m., go on a moderate paced winter tree identification hike with forester Steve Hoover. From 1 to 3 p.m., Hoover will have a display and be available to talk about careers in the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which is responsible for maintaining and preserving the commonwealth’s 121 state parks and 20 state forests and for providing information on the state’s natural resources. 

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tiadaghton Audubon Society members will take visitors on impromptu birding walks and lead scheduled 30-minute walks at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Bring binoculars and cameras. Also available will be information for the public about the National Audubon Society study on the projected decline of the bird population due to climate change and about the local birding group.

Winterfest 2020 set for January 18
Tim Morey is shown with an ice saw and ice tongs used for cutting and moving blocks of ice from local ponds and lakes to homes to preserve food in “ice boxes”100 years ago. Photo credit: John Eaton.

Cody Whipple, a Fish and Boat Commission educator, will present ice fishing tips and tricks on how to get started pulling fish through the ice, or, if the ice isn’t thick enough, on land demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Free hot dogs and hot chocolate will be available to everyone from 11 a.m. until gone. Fire rings and burn barrels will help visitors stay warm.

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