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Winterfest continues UB tradition of snow-themed festivals

UB celebrates the season with Winterfest. Photo: Steve Morse


Published January 23, 2014


Check out a snowy Winterfest 2011.

“Winterfest is an opportunity for students to take advantage of what Buffalo is best known for: winter, weather and snow.”
Kerry Spicer, associate director
Student Unions and Activities

Snow or no snow, more than 50 years of winter festival traditions will carry on with UB’s fifth annual Winterfest. 

On Feb. 1, nearly 300 students are expected to enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides and ice skating before heading indoors for chili-in-a-bag – a hearty portion of chili poured into a bag of Fritos or Doritos.

“Winterfest is an opportunity for students to take advantage of what Buffalo is best known for: winter, weather and snow,” says Kerry Spicer, associate director of student unions and activities.

“It keeps alive the winter sports traditions students have participated in every year on campus since the 1950s. It will also introduce those same sports to students who have never experienced them before.”

Winterfest 2014 will take place from noon to 10 p.m. in the Student Union lobby and on the field between Clemens Hall and The Commons to take advantage of the new ice rink on the North Campus. The events are free and open to all UB students, faculty and staff.

Originally called Winter Carnival, the first such event was held in February 1948 and organized by the Norton Hall Sitzmarkers. The carnival featured cross-country skiing, ski races, snow-sculpturing competitions and the naming of a festival king and queen.

Although the pastimes have changed, the spirit is the same.

This year’s events will include ice bowling, sledding, and snowman- and igloo-building contests. Contestants will compete for team medals, trophies and a Tim Hortons gift card — key to defrosting over a cup of hot chocolate.

In addition to the outdoor skating rink, a synthetic ice rink will be constructed in the Student Union lobby.

Participants who wish to enter the broomball competition — a sport similar to hockey — should register at the Winterfest website.

Everyone who attends the festival will receive a pair of Winterfest gloves.

Events taking place from 1-4 p.m. include snowman and igloo-building contests, ice bowling, horse-drawn wagon rides, sledding and indoor ice skating.

Ice skating on the outdoor rink will take place from noon to 1 p.m. and from 4–10 p.m.

In the event of warm weather, on-ice events, except for indoor ice skating, will take place on pavement.

Winterfest is presented by the Office of Student Affairs, Division of Athletics, University Facilities and the Office of Sustainability.