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Colton officials say all Winterfest activities will go on as planned

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COLTON - The 16th annual Colton Winterfest is officially underway as decorative quilts are on display, generous portions of delicious food are being served, and the anticipation in the community is high.

Winterfest began last night with a handful of events including the display of art work from many Colton-Pierrepont students and also the beginning of “Passport to Winterfest.”

The latter is one of the new parts of the festival this year, giving participants a unique opportunity to win free candy, as well as a gift certificate or card.

Those who attend at least eight of the 14 Winterfest events over the weekend and get their Passport forms stamped will receive a candy bar supporting the CPCS senior class trip and be eligible for one of the two gift certificates/cards. Those 16 and younger could win a $25 gift card to Walmart, while everyone else could win gift certificates totaling $50, redeemable at many businesses in Potsdam.

Passport forms with locations of participating events are at the school, as well as at 3 Falls Antiques during store hours. Those with questions are asked to contact Scott Muller, (315-255-9956.)

Today features a bevy of activities, and members of the Winterfest Committee were busy Friday with final preparations.

“(Friday) night they were hanging the quilts and people were setting up tables for the craft and health fair (today.) There will be over 250 quilts at the quilt show, and there are now five venues for the show,” Mr. Muller said.

“Everybody is getting ready for the quilt show. They are hanging from the rafters and things like that. We have well over 100 quilts for the show this year,” Tourism and Beautification Coordinator Ruth T. McWilliams added.

“The last thing that I am aware of, today is the last day of preparation for the Citizen of the Year Award. The announcement (of the winner) is during the concert. The Winterfest Committee decides who the (winner) is and there’s a nice presentation and Powerpoint on how the people have volunteered and helped out their neighbors.”

The Winterfest concert is slated for 7 p.m. Saturday and features Colton-Pierrepont music teacher and jazz pianist Papadon “Don” Washington. He will be joined on stage by Crane School of Music and Colton-Pierrepont Central School students

. The CPCS Jazz Band will be the opening act. The cost will be $5 for general admission, $3 for children under 12 years of age and a $10 fee for familes of three or more.

Events like Family Day today (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and the Higley Hustle Ski Festival tomorrow (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) will be taking place at Higley Flow State Park. Just a few short weeks ago, the venue was far from ready to be hosting such events, thanks to the late December ice storm.

“Those who have been cleaning up the park did a great job and got us all ready for Winterfest,” Mr. Muller said.

“We were very concerned with whether we’d be able to have events at Higley Flow. But we have had enough volunteers to clean up that area, and we will have the Ski Festival on Sunday and the Family Day on Saturday. All events are going on as scheduled,” Winterfest Committee member Judy Fuhr said.

Other items of note include the viewing of the recently aired WPBS documentary “The Raquette River Winter Experience,” the Rock and Skate at the Pavillion, and free sleigh rides sponsored by White’s General Store.

“I have put together order forms and it will be a two-set DVD with the new ‘Raquette River Winter Experience’ and the original ‘Raquette River Experience’ as well. The set is for $15,” Ms. McWilliams said.

“This year we have an outdoor rink in South Colton. Through a grant, we were able to get a Zamboni for it, and there will be a rock and skate and also the broomball tournament. We anticipate a good turnout for most of the events,” Ms. Fuhr added. “We’re always hopeful. The sleigh rides this year are being funded by White’s General Store and are no charge. I am sure that those will be very popular this year. That’s going to be a nice addition.”

Ms. Fuhr was complimentary of the tireless work put in by both Ms. McWilliams and CPCS Art Teacher Krystal Stowe.

“Ruth McWilliams has been the driving force behind Winterfest. Also, Krystal Stowe has done a lot of work with getting the art show together and has been great,” she said.

For a complete schedule of the 16th annual Colton Winterfest, visit www.townofcolton.com/events.

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