Winter Festivals Warm Up the Western Catskills

DELHI, NY (01/11/2012)(readMedia)-- Ice harvesting, ice skating, snowmobiling – and the foods that go with them!! That's what winter festivals are made of. Delaware County has two on tap that are sure to please families from the Oneonta and Binghamton areas. First up is the 3rd Annual Winter Festival at the Walton Fairgrounds. Saturday January 21st from 9am until late afternoon, the fairgrounds are transformed into a winter wonderland! The event will feature a spectacular ice carving competition, with carvers from the American Culinary Federation and including Delaware County's own SUNY Delhi Ice Carvers competing against one another and Mother Nature. Beautiful forms to local business logos will be carved that day. Competitors will be toting chainsaws, chisels, blowtorches, and other special tools of the trade. Top professional ice carvers will judge the sculptors and crown a champion by day's end.

This one-day, family-oriented festival will also feature a horse-drawn carriage and sleigh exhibition, figure skating demonstration, ice skating, snowmobile races, wood carving competition, and children's' winter-related activities. Food vendors will be on-site to make sure everyone has a warm and full belly!

Next up is the Ice Harvest at Hanford Mills Museum on Saturday, February 4 from 10 am – 4 pm. The day provides a hands-on history lesson-and a day of winter fun. Visitors can walk out on the frozen mill pond and help cut blocks of ice using vintage ice saws. The ice will then be hauled by a horse-drawn sled, and packed in a traditional ice house. The ice harvested at the event will be used to make ice cream at the Hanford Mills Independence Day Celebration.

Demonstrations on ice fishing and tree pruning will be ongoing, and the SUNY Delhi Hospitality's Ice Team will be on hand to create great ice sculptures on site. There will be horse-drawn sleigh rides, children's games and outdoor fire pits to warm up by. If your belly needs warming, half a dozen local restaurants will be serving hot soups in the old General Store building, or opt for hot apple cider and snacks like fresh roasted peanuts or Junkyard Bakehaus baked goods. The Hanford House will be open to teach folks how to work the "Iron Maiden" – that'd be how to cook on a woodstove! And the Mill will show films of ice harvests from the 1930's.

Children 12 and under are free. Adults are $8.50, seniors are $6.50. AAA and other discounts available. Museum members are free, as are residents who live in the following zip codes that neighbor Hanford Mills: (13757, 13739, 13786, 13750, or 13806). Residents are asked to bring identification to receive free admission to Hanford Mills Museum.

Learn more about the Western Catskills

Delaware County is located conveniently to the NYC / Albany / Rochester / Philadelphia areas for weekend getaway. For more information on travel to the Great Western Catskills visit For a free activity guides, art gallery and antique shop map, fishing map or event calendar, call 866-775-4425. The Great Western Catskills of Delaware County Facebook page now includes a Photo of the Day section so you can see the weather and beauty of the area – no matter what Mother Nature delivers.