Break out your warm weather gear because Winterfest is back in Diamond Park and its surrounding areas.
The family friendly event runs from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Winterfest hosts a wide range of activities that include games and walking tacos from New Beginnings Church of God, a friendship bracelet station from the Girl Scouts, a blubber experiment and an open gym at the Meadville Family YMCA and a books and bookmarks station at Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville. Macaroni Kids Meadville-Titusville hosts a macaroni snowflake station, and City Councilman Sean Donahue will give out cotton candy.
Although the forecast for the weekend shows a comparatively mild 33 degrees with some snow showers, warming stations have been prepared at the Family & Community Christian Association (FCCA), Stone United Methodist Church (they plan to serve soup) and Unitarian Universalist Church. The FCCA will have face painting and hot dogs. Creek Connections from Allegheny College, which works to clean and monitor French Creek, will also participate.
This year marks the third time Winterfest has made its way to the center of town after a group of residents including Dan Hunter of Cobblestone Cottage and Gardens, Jen and Jeremiah Anthony of Living Waters Church, Christin Smith of the Going Places Project and Mike Bish of Bish Automotive realized there was no community-wide festival for Meadville during the winter.
That year, the Meadville Neighborhood Center was able to cover the event to kickstart what appears to be a new tradition in town.
"It’s a fun party just to come to and go in and out of the interior spaces," Hunter said. "Nobody does anything on the third Saturday of the month of February, so it seemed a natural fit. This way Meadville could have its own Winterfest, the blank canvas to have that opportunity to bring everyone together."
Katie Allen, family services manager at the FCCA, is in charge of Winterfest this year, taking the reigns from Hunter. She recommended stopping by the FCCA Saturday morning for anyone interested in volunteering for setup.
Allen also confirmed the police department, fire department, ambulance service and city works will have trucks available to view outside of the FCCA building on Chestnut Street. The Clothes Line group will give out free hats, mittens, scarves and gloves. Horse-drawn carriage rides will also be available for jaunts around the Diamond.
"It's going to go on no matter what," Allen said. "If it's raining, they'll have tents. We're encouraging people to come out no matter what the weather is.
"Every year it grows and becomes stronger. It's a time where we can come together as a community and just have fun and not have to spend money. This is something free that the community wants to do for families and get people out of their homes and talking to each other."
Tyler Dague can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.