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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Winterfest 2020 is This Saturday, Jan. 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.
"Snow or no snow, ice or no ice, Winterfest 2020 is a go and everything's free!" said Tim Morey, organizer. "If there's snow, it only gets better," he added.

Winterfest is this Saturday, Jan. 18 with free, fun, family friendly activities at Hills Creek State Park's beach parking area in Charleston Township, eight miles from Wellsboro. The park's GPS address is 111 Spillway Road, Wellsboro, Pa. 16901.

Cold temperatures and snow are currently predicted for this Friday and Winterfest Saturday,” Morey said on Monday, Jan. 13. "The forecast calls for one-inch of snow Friday and an additional 5.4 inches on Saturday."

"Our presenters are planning to be there. If visitors can drive safely to Hills Creek on Saturday and there is enough snow, the fun will increase," Morey said.

"We don't need a lot of snow for sledding down Beach Front Hill on tubes, toboggans, sleds and snowboards," said Morey. "We do need at least five inches for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on park trails. If there is enough snow, we will hold the introduction to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing mini-clinics from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Adults and kids of all ages can sign out snowshoes and skis to use in the park free until 3 p.m. If there is not enough snow, the mini-clinics will be from noon to 2 p.m and people will be shown how to select appropriate equipment to purchase," Morey said. "In that case, our plan is to end Winterfest at 2 p.m., too."

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.
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

“I am excited about the other programs and events we have lined up that don't require snow or ice!" said Morey.

"We have no plans to be on the ice for fishing or skating on Saturday, but will have information on ice fishing as well as historic ice harvesting," he said. From 11:30 a.m. to noon, talks about ice harvesting and how ice was used to keep food cold more than 100 years ago will be presented with a look at some of the historic tools used. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be a program with ice fishing tips and tricks on how to get started and demonstrations on land.

Visitors can hike on park trails or participate in different types of guided walks or hikes. At 10 a.m. will be a winter tree identification hike led by forester Steve Hoover. Tiadaghton Audubon Society members will take visitors on impromptu birding walks between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and on scheduled 30-minute birding walks at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Bring binoculars and cameras.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be fat-tired snow bike demonstrations. Tom Gibson of Milton is bringing several pairs of the new, longer Tracker Skishoes he invented for people to look at, put on, and try out. Skishoes are a combination ski and snowshoe with a built-in traction device.

Build a bluebird nesting box to take home between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. with all materials provided free.

Mel "Longknife" Stafford, a reenactor portraying an 18th century Eastern mountain man, will do pioneer-style outdoor cooking demonstrations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and give out free samples of his freshly made donuts.

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.

At 12 p.m. and again at 1:30 p.m., "Meet the Owls of Pennsylvania, a 30-minute program for adults and children. Find out how to identify local owls by call and key features.

Snow and ice condition updates will be posted at https://www.stepoutdoors.org and on Facebook at Step Outdoors Tioga PA. For more information, call Hills Creek State Park at 570-724-4246 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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