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Weather fails to cool fun at Winterfest

Winterfest 2012

Among the activities unaffected by the weather were the wagon rides around Lake LaSalle. Photo: STEVE MORSE

By STEPHANIE CHIAW

Published May 24, 2013

The organizers of UB’s 14th annual Winterfest had planned for ice skating and a broomball tournament on a frozen Lake LaSalle, and snowman- and igloo-building contests by the lake.

“Winterfest is a celebration of winter in Buffalo; it’s a great opportunity for students to get out in the winter, have some fun with their friends and build a community, particularly in the winter,” said Thomas Tiberi, director of student life. “There is a lot of outdoor programming around in nicer months, but this is Buffalo! It’s winter five to six months a year—we should really have some fun outside.”

And while students who attended this year’s Winterfest on Feb. 16 were met with little snow and a Lake LaSalle that did not have  ice thick enough for ice skating and broomball, they still seemed to have fun at the event, despite the less-than-ideal conditions.

What happened to the "winter" in Winterfest?

“The weather is one of the things that is unfortunate sometimes. But Winterfest is definitely going on, no matter the circumstances, and we will still make things happen,” said Dave Dahlberg, staff assistant in the Office of Campus Living, which sponsors Winterfest.

After last year's slushy, muddy conditions at Winterfest, organizers made contingency plans for this year's event.

So that meant that the broomball tournament was played in the South Lake Community Center’s parking lot, which had been cordoned off with bales of hay.

“There is a huge difference playing broomball on the frozen lake and on dry land. It’s definitely more exciting when you’re slipping and falling, and everyone look ridiculous playing it,” said Karen Mayfield, assistant director for marketing and sport clubs in the Division of Athletics who coordinated the broomball tournament. “But we did have to make up for it in the parking lot and they are still having a great time playing it, even if it’s on pavement. Same rules apply, just no falling this year.”

Travis Nemmer, president of the undergratuate Student Association, called this year’s Winterfest “a vast improvement over last year in terms of programming and attendance. Also, the contingency plans represented the best efforts that were available given the circumstances,” he said.

Denise Chia, a senior majoring in communication, said she still had fun at Winterfest, despite the weather. “The activities they planned were really flexible: on the spot signup for the broomball competition, the Amazing Race on an hourly basis and every 15 minutes a carriage ride,” she said “The carriage ride and the board games that were provided indoors showed that the organizers had both young and old in mind.

“Although the ice was not suitable for the original activities planned out, I still had fun during this year’s Winterfest,” she said.

More Winterfest photos by Steve Morse