Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

WinterFest comes to Amherst snow or shine

Last year’s annual WinterFest found Cherry Hill Golf Course coated with a thick blanket of snow, and, though there has been a shortage of snow this year, the winter party is still in store for Saturday, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

The festivities began at 1 p.m. with other activities featured at WinterFest will be the Frosty Fun Kids Karnival, sponsored by Multi-Arts, a nonprofit Amherst and Hadley-based organization. According to the Gazette, the event will run from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Arts and crafts, a puppet show and face painting will also be featured.

One of the highlights of the event – opportunities for sledding – may be made possible this year by artificial snow.

The Friends of Amherst Recreation have access to a snow-making machine, which will come in handy should Saturday arrive snow-free. The machine will create enough snow to build the “SuperPipe” sledding hill, where WinterFest participants can sled, according to the Gazette.

“We are going to do our best to make snow, so we will have snow there,” said Barb Bilz, assistant director of Leisure Services and Supplemental Education, in the Gazette.

Participants will have the opportunity to sled using their own sleds or using ones provided at the site. A smaller incline will also be available and will serve as the venue for the Cardboard Classic sled race, a race featuring homemade cardboard sleds. A WinterFest staple, the Cardboard Classic will begin at 4:15 p.m., according to the Gazette.

“People are already working on [their cardboard sleds],” said Bilz in the Gazette, adding that in past years, the Cardboard Classic entries have included sleds made to look like fire engines, sea monsters and pirate ships.

For those looking to warm up, there’s the annual chili-tasting contest, during which six local restaurants (including last year’s award winners Black Sheep Deli and Chandler’s) will offer samples. Atkins Farms Country Market, Amherst Brewing Co., The Harp and Chef Bill will also be featured.

According to the Gazette, some of the activities could be altered due to lack of snow, such as cross-country ski lessons, but Bilz assured that alternative plans are in the making.

For the adults, a wine and cheese tasting will occur at 5:00 p.m., and family activities including ice sculpture making, Muddy Brook Farm wagon rides and a bird-watching trek will also be featured.

WinterFest runs from 1 to 6 p.m. – at the course at 323 Montague Rd. – and will conclude with fireworks. Tickets will be available for purchase at the event, costing $8 for adults, $7 for students 16 and over, $5 for children and families can pay a flat fee of $20. Tickets can also be purchased at the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce on Amity Street, Atkins Farms Country Market on West Street, Hastings on South Pleasant Street and Amherst Leisure Services office at the Bangs Community Center.

According to Bilz in the Gazette, “money raised beyond the cost of the event” will be used to fund renovations to municipal playgrounds.

Steffi Porter can be reached at [email protected].


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    TobogganistFeb 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Nice. If you’re looking for sledding hills, you can check out for a map of local hills and also add hills to the map for others to locate and enjoy. Many sleds will thank you! 🙂