Beating cabin fever has always been the goal of Clifton Park’s Winterfest.
To organizer Myla Kramer, that goal seems more relevant than ever this year.
“It’s not just the regular winter cabin fever, which is the original idea behind Winterfest . . but now it’s like ten-fold because of COVID,” said Kramer, who is the director of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Community Affairs.
The community-wide event is slated to run from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, with cross country ski races, outhouse races, nature walks, food trucks and other outdoor activities.
“It’s amazing because there’s so much more that we have going on this year than we typically do,” Kramer said.
The festival will look different this year due to safety precautions. The “Idol” contest and the Taste of Clifton Park best soup contest, among other indoor activities, have been canceled. However, volunteers and organizations around the town stepped up to help with outdoor events, said Kramer.
“. . . all these people and groups wanted to do something. They wanted to help bring something to the community, I think to bring a little joy and happiness because it’s a tough time,” Kramer said.
Activities are spread across town to make it easier for families to be socially distant.
There will be self-guided nature story walks at several parks including the Vischer Ferry Nature
and Historic Preserve (at the Whipple Bridge entrance), Hayes Nature Park and the Veteran’s Memorial Park, each featuring a different story.
“There’s so many different things for people to choose from and again if there’s a family where the parents are like ‘We don’t want to be around anyone,’ then the winter nature story walk, that’s going to be going on for a couple of weeks so they can do that whenever. They can do it on Saturday or they can go at their leisure and not have to worry about a lot of other people being around,” Kramer said.
There are also plenty of outdoor events scheduled for Saturday as well. At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Eagle Scout Ryan Haug will host orienteering hikes at the Dwaaskill Nature Preserve. People can try out ice fishing from 10 a.m. to noon at Barney Road Pond by the dock off of Valencia Lane.
Another winter tradition, tubing, is running at Riverview Orchards from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The orchard will also have free crafts for kids and a s’mores bonfire roast.
Down the road, at the Vischer Ferry General Store, there will be a live owl program, snow games, crafts for kids and food from the Rollin’ Smoke Handcrafted BBQ food truck from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
While there won’t be any indoor events at Clifton Common, there will be several food trucks there including Curvy Girls Food Truck & Catering, Mazz’s Famous Snacks and The Mac Factor, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
“I think it’s really needed and we know that covid’s still here and we still want people to be safe but we also want them to have an opportunity to go outside and remember how wonderful winter can be,” Kramer said.
The full list of Winterfest activities can be found at cliftonpark.org.