Monday, January 21, 2013

Syracuse Winterfest

Our History <!--[if lt IE 9]> <![endif]

It has a Short, Yet Outstanding History

1987 Winterfest Poster
Humble Beginnings!
The first Winterfest was celebrated in 1985. It was the result of a small group of individuals from the Updowntowners of Syracuse, who committed months of time and energy to celebrate, rather than lament, winter in Syracuse and Onondaga County.
Community involvement and participation grew. It was the third year of celebration of Syracuse Winterfest Inc., and the Updowntowners of Syracuse, Inc. gained the full support of the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, The Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, WTVH-5, AM 570/WSYR, and Y94.
During the 1987-88 season, Syracuse Winterfest achieved New York State’s prestigious title of “Winter Festival Capital”. Due to public support and enthusiasm, Winterfest expanded from a weekend festival to its present two weeks.
Local and national companies found that the celebrating Syracusans were an attractive target market. They started underwriting the costs of operating Winterfest as well as sponsoring many events. Downtown Syracuse merchants and restaurants became actively involved with the festivities. People found that there were lots of ways to participate in Winterfest.
More than 200,000 people attended Winterfest activities in 1989. The Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that tourists joined with the residents of Onondaga County to celebrate winter. The list of corporate sponsors grew to a record level. The number of volunteers increased dramatically.
The history of Winterfest is checkered with warm days and no snow, as well as frigid weekends with snow and subzero temperatures. In 1990 the Winterfest Committee made the event “weather- proof” by creating winter sculptures without snow and more indoor activities. Although a two weekend event, sponsors, volunteers and the public enjoyed the biggest Winterfest to date.
Winterfest in 2000 was expanded to a ten day event. In 2002 it was increased to an eleven day event to include a semi- formal ball to welcome the newest Winterfest mascot “Snow Ball”. The “Snow Ball” proved to be an elegant combination of dancing and dining. This event was held in the grand ballroom of the Hotel Syracuse with entertainment provided by local musicians.
The New York Special Olympics joined the Syracuse Winterfest celebration in 2002 adding numerous events.

Winterfest 2013 we will be having and Ice Castle Built in Clinton Square and several new events.

Winterfest, the celebration of snow, continues to be the grandest attraction in Central New York during the winter months. It’s been the largest event of its kind in the northeast United States. For further information, contact Bill Cooper at (315) 676-2496 (h) or (315) 243-2500 (c)or Email:

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