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February 3, 2013

Snow returns to Winter Fun Days

JAMESTOWN — Seven-year-old Sylvia Novak stood patiently, her purple helmet strapped tightly and bundled up from head to toe. The Greenville resident, formerly of Arizona, was about to take her first  snowmobile ride.

“Nah,” her dad, Bruno Novak, said, about whether Sylvia was nervous about her upcoming ride. “She’s rode on four-wheelers and all kinds of stuff before. Nothing really scares her.”

Sylvia’s smile as she jumped onto the back of a snowmobile with Pymatuning Trail Blazers Snowmobile Club treasurer Joel Young confirmed. She was excited.

For the first time in a couple of years, the club was able to offer snowmobile rides at its 37th annual Winter Fun Days at Pymatuning State Park, because for the first time in a couple of years there was snow.

“It’s been a couple of years since we’ve been able to run them,” club president Denny Diodati said. “In recent years we’ve jokingly called the Winter Fun Days the Mud Fun Days.”

Not Saturday. Pymatuning State Park had the required 4 inches of snow — and then some — on the ground along with brisk temperatures.

The crowd early in the day was sparse, but everyone in attendance appeared to be enjoying themselves. Among them was a group of friends from the Pittsburgh area, who rented a few cabins in the state park for the weekend to enjoy the festivities. They were very happy to see the snow.

“We came up here to hang out with friends,” said Lonnie Jinks of New Castle. “We were here last year. We come every year and there is nothing going on without the snow.”

“Every year we come we hope that there is going to be snow,” said Pam Courtney of Butler. “This is the first time we have come that there has actually been snow.”

Winter Fun Days is an annual fundraising event for the PTBSC, a nonprofit organization that promotes safe snowmobiling and the establishment of trails in the area. Currently, there are approximately 100 miles of local trails along the Pymatuning Lake from Linesville to Jamestown and east to Hartstown and Adamsville, which Diodati said require roughly $6,000 a year to maintain and insure.

Diodati said Winter Fun Days helps to raise between $1,200 and $1,500 toward those costs per year.

The trails are open to the entire public.

“We have people coming from Ohio, Pittsburgh and all over the state,” Diodati said. “I’ve received calls from people from West Virginia wondering if the trails are open.”

The rides given on Saturday were on a small portion of those trails adjacent to the PTBSC clubhouse.

“It was cool,” Sylvia said following her ride. “My favorite part was when we were going up over the hills and stuff.”

“It’s fun, cold,” Jinks, who also took a guided ride on the trails. “You know how you go over a little bump and woohoo, you come up off your seat a little, I let out a little yip.”

The snowmobile rides are just one of several events going on at Winter Fun Days, which continue today at the park, Shelter No. 4., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is also a vintage snowmobile display, a Northstar Powersports Polaris display, a chainsaw carver display, a used snowmobile corral, and a horse-drawn hay ride throughout the park.

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