Planners of the third annual Buffalo Winterfest and Powder Keg Festival are enjoying the irony of the unusually mild winter and the lack of snow it has left on the ground for this weekend's event. The Winterfest begins Friday evening and will continue through Sunday (a full list of events can be found at www.buffalowinterfest.com).
Snow will be trucked in to allow some of the planned activities to move ahead, including a snowboard exhibition sponsored by Red Bull in Niagara Square. For other events, snow is optional. The fun, planners say, will go on.
"You know this weekend we can all look around and say I'm not going to go because there's no snow. No, it's a celebration of winter. We're still going to have fun," said organizer Drew Cerza. "We're going to have kids' activities. We're going to have cold beer. We're going to have live music. We're going to have the Red Bull snow challenge. We've got all these activities I mentioned. We just make the most of it and I think that's typical Buffalo."
The events range from children's activities to live music to a heritage hike. There will also be sports including a broomball tournament. Broomball is like hockey, but played with brooms instead of sticks.
Cerza was praised for his creativity as well as his ability to overcome some unique obstacles. It was noted, for example, how he scrambled to restock the inaugural National Chicken Wing Festival when organizers ran out of the trademark food after the first day. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is looking forward to this weekend's events and, like Cerza, isn't concerned about a lack of snow keeping patrons away.
"There will be so much going on, including all sorts of fun," said Mayor Brown. "Ice skating at Rotary Rink, a Buffalo Historical Hike, a hockey competition, and a Red Bull Buttercup Snowboard competition. This is going to be a wonderful family-friendly event. I've had the opportunity to attend the event with my family for the past few years."