Admit it. Words muttered under your breath the past few cold, snow dump days have sounded something like “ice dam!”
The third annual Winter Festival, scheduled to be held at next Wednesday, Feb. 23 from noon to 3 p.m., aims to change that attitude. After next week’s third annual Winter Festival, predictions are you’ll be begging for s’more snow.
Sponsored by the and organized by the , the highly anticipated Winter Festival is an afternoon of fun in the snow and on the ice—along with a free lunch.
Many Melrosians think of Mount Hood as a great place to golf or walk their dogs, but thanks to the Winter Festival, many more have come to learn of all that the scenic public park has to offer throughout the year. According to Frank Olivieri, Recreation Department Manager, a crowd averaging between 500-600 has attended each of the past two years since the festival was revived, reveling in all that is offered.
Activities, free food, music, s'mores inside ...
Final touches are still being made, but plans so far include something for everybody of all ages, all geared to get you both outdoors on the grounds and inside the beautiful clubhouse.
Inside, from noon to 3 p.m., a free banquet will be prepared by Mount Hood Catering Manager Laura Farrell and her team. Free hot dogs, hamburgers and/or chicken, grilled outdoors on the clubhouse deck, will be served as long as supplies last.
Inside the main banquet room, snow goers will find drinks, candy, music provided by DJ and Melrose Police Officer John Ross and—a big hit last year—ingredients to cook s’mores over the open, round-stoned fireplace.
This year, an inflatable bounce house will be set up in the clubhouse’s back room, along with arts & crafts and face painting. In addition to a lot of giveaways, Stoneham Theatre will be there, raffling four tickets (a $128 value) to any of the remaining performances of its current production, the , based on a traditional Korean folk-tale, now running through Feb. 27.
... and winter games outdoors
On the outdoor agenda? Two to three ice skating rinks will be cleared on First Pond, as well as a long, winding patch circling the inside boundaries of First Pond, for cross-country skiing or even just winter walking (be sure to wear snow boots). There are no rentals, so bring your own.
Various winter games will be spread among the grounds surrounding the clubhouse: broom ball, toss games, like snowball tossing, and a chance to build snow castles and igloos, or snow forts. Still under consideration? The re-introduction of ice-fishing (weather permitting). On the front lawn, children can play snow golf, or play under a large, colorful parachute.
New! EMS-led tours added for adults and teens
New and exciting this year, is something geared more towards adults and older teen. Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), the well-known chain for outdoor gear and equipment for sports and adventure, will be providing free use of snowshoes and cross-country ski equipment, plus leading guided tours through the grounds. Bring your own if you have it.
Peter Casson of EMS Explorations, the outdoor school programs arm of EMS, said that “we’re looking to get people outdoors. We want to introduce people to the outdoors. Because if they enjoy this, then there’s a lot more to do.
"But EMS is not just about winter outdoor programs," he added. "We’re already looking at spring and summer programs. In fact, this spring, we’ll be introducing stand-up paddling, a sport new to the East.”
As for the snowshoeing and cross-country guided tours, Casson noted, “We’ll have a good selection of equipment, and two instructors leading tours, so it should be quite good.”
The Winter Fest is a collaboration among a number of partners, Olivieri said. Mayor Rob Dolan and his office, Melrose Park Commission, the Golf Management Company, plus the Melrose Recreation Department. The cost for the event, Olivieri said, is funded by the Melrose Parks Commission at approximately $2,500 to $3,000.
“The Melrose Park Commission wants to promote Mount Hood for all it has to offer,” he added. “It’s a beautiful, public park. Golf gets so much push, yet there’s so much to do in the wintertime, especially during winter school break.
“The Winter Festival has become a great community event. It’s full of entertainment, community, and outdoor fun. All are invited.”