WEST PLATTSBURGH - When winter comes, it's only a matter of time before one of the biggest winter celebrations comes along - the American Legion Post 1619 Winterfest.
Irene Rock, one of the organizers for the annual event, said it takes several weeks for a band of dedicated volunteers to plan and prepare for the three-day celebration, typically held the first weekend in February.
"It's great how everyone comes together to make it a success," said Rock. "We've been working steady since before Christmas but it's not bad, because everybody wants to help. It's just amazing."
Winterfest will once again kick off with a fish fry from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, followed by an opening ceremony featuring guest speakers and a performance by the American Legion Post 1619 Color Guard.
What will add to the entertainment, said Rock, will be a new fireworks show, performed by Dr. Joe Clauss, a licensed pyrotechnic.
"He says it's going to be a show the North Country has never seen before," said Rock. "It's going to be pretty cool."
The annual Winterfest Dance, which includes the crowning of a king and queen for the event, will follow, rounding out the night.
The following day, Saturday, Feb. 5, festivities will kick off at 11 a.m., with free, family-oriented activities including open skating, sledding, hockey, broomball games and a curling competition. Horse-drawn wagon rides will be offered from 12 to 3 p.m. The remainder of the day will include 50/50 drawings, raffles and live entertainment. Festivities will continue Sunday, Feb. 6, beginning again at 11 a.m.
"It's going to be a fun weekend," said Rock.
Free hot chocolate and coffee will be served. The post will also offer hot dogs, michigans, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, French fries, chili, clam chowder and other selections for $1 each. Proceeds from the weekend will go the Veterans Assistance Fund, which helps veterans throughout Clinton County pay for expenses like fuel oil and transportation to and from doctors' appointments. The event helps veterans each year, said Rock, who added they are the ones who help the post give back to the community.
"This is an opportunity to get the community together and see our Legion isn't just a bunch of old soldiers sitting at the bar. We do stuff for the community and help any way we can," said Rock.
And, for those who have never been to Winterfest, Rock said this year is just as good a year as any.
"It's a chance to come out and have some fun. Bring your mother, your father, your sister, brother, uncle - anybody - and just enjoy the day," said Rock. "It's a great weekend for families to enjoy themselves without spending a ton of money."
For more information, contact the post at 561-8706.