The holiday season might be over, but winter is still in full swing in Binghamton — snow, slush and all. This Saturday, the Broome County Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Services will bring together the community for a day of winter weather activities during Winterfest, a free, public event hosted at Nathaniel Cole Park from noon to 4 p.m.
The event will include various activities, ranging from ice skating on the lake and sledding to a scavenger hunt and obstacle course. There will also be guided hikes, a bonfire, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and a fishing derby.
Winterfest was coordinated by the Broome County Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Services, which brought the event back this winter after the town of Colesville stopped hosting it a few years ago.
“We wanted to bring something to the community that provided winter fun and activities for people to get outside and enjoy being outdoors and in the county parks during the winter time,” said Amanda Florance, parks, recreation and youth services coordinator. “Then we started brainstorming ideas, we talked to some of our managers in the park — that’s how we got the idea of the fishing derby.”
Florance worked alongside Liz Woidt, director of parks, recreation and youth services, to organize the event. They pulled inspiration from previous Winterfests and various winter activities available in the Broome County area such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Florance and Woidt are also bringing in local organizations and vendors to the event, hoping to provide vendors with more exposure within the community and create a wider array of opportunities for the crowds.
The event — like many hosted by the Broome County Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Services — is free. According to Woidt, this allows the event to be widely accessible to the public and opens up the parks to those who may not have spent time there otherwise.
“We like giving people a reason to come in and visit our parks,” Woidt said. “There are a lot of people in Broome County that don’t realize what we truly have to offer.”
Florance said the event is an opportunity for attendees to engage in various unique winter activities among fellow community members, and allows more people to see what is available in Broome County.
“I think it brings awareness to the parks, and it also brings people together,” Florance said. “They might learn about organizations that are in our community, or opportunities or experiences that are provided here in Broome County that they might not be aware of.”
The full schedule of Winterfest activities is available on the Broome County Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Services’ website and social media.