What village residents see out the window this morning will have a lot to do with whether the 12th annual Winter Fun Festival will go on this Saturday.
Given the cost of truck fuel, Mayor John Romano said, the village can’t be in the business of hauling snow in from far away for the festival’s signature Bath Street hill sledding event, as it has in many past years.
Instead, the village will be relying on Mother Nature — and the hope the snow that began Tuesday evening doesn’t turn to sleet and freezing rain too quickly.
“Let’s hope we have the proper amount of snow so all the kids can have a good time,” Romano said.
A decision will need to be made by Thursday, Romano said.
The festival, started in 1996, is highlighted each year by an event in which Bath Street is covered with snow from West High to Washington streets, so those who are young, daring or both can sled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In many years, there’s been a scarcity of local snow, and the village has resorted to trucking it from as far as commercial parking lots in Wilton to have enough. Once, in 2006, the event was canceled because of warm weather and lack of snow.
This year, Romano said the village crews will work with whatever snow is available locally, or can be collected with the help of the highway departments in the neighboring towns of Ballston and Milton.
“We will not haul in snow from all over the county as in the past, because of the cost of fuel,” the mayor said. “All indications are that there’s supposed to be snow.”
There was reason for his optimism. A snowstorm began Tuesday evening.
The National Weather Service zone forecast for the Ballston Spa area late Tuesday was revised, dropping the expected accumulation of snow by this morning to 4 to 8 inches, with the snow turning to sleet and freezing rain by this morning. There is also a 50 percent chance of snow showers Friday, the day public works crews close Bath Street and create the sledding run.
Assuming the festival goes forward, there are events scheduled from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in and around the village.
In addition to sledding and tobogganing, events include washtub ice fishing for young children at 11 a.m. on Front Street, an age-category-based snowball-throwing contest starting at noon on Front Street, public skating on the Eastern Avenue recreation field from 5 to 8 p.m., weather permitting, and music, food, dancing from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Town of Milton Community Center on Northline Road. There will also be children’s crafts at the community center from 7-8 p.m.
People interested in volunteering to help or seeking more information may contact the village office, 66 Front St.
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