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Snow or no snow, festivals offer winter fun

1/23/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Natalie Bowers, of Bath, enjoys sled riding during last year’s Chillin’ on the Hill at the Bath Nature Preserve.
Photo: Ken Crisafi
GREATER AKRON — Cold temperatures and snow? Bring it on, say those planning outdoor festivals in the coming weeks.

Copley and Bath townships are planning events, while Medina is inviting visitors to chill out at its annual Ice Festival once again.

In Copley, the Police, Fire and Service departments have come together to plan Winterfest for Jan. 25 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Copley Community Park, 3232 Copley Road.

Sgt. Jack Simone said this is the first time the township has organized the activity.

“We do a bike rodeo in spring and Halloween in the Park in the fall, so we thought maybe we could do something in the winter to get families out of the house for the day,” he said.

He added he’s hoping the weather cooperates and provides a snowy day.

“If there’s snow, we’ll have sledding,” he said, noting there is a sled hill at the park. “We also have a sled dog team coming out to do a demonstration and give people the chance to ride on a dog sled.”

Copley Greens Golf Course has also lent golf clubs to the organizers, who plan to create a snowy golf course in the soccer field. There also will be Frisbee golf, Simone said. An ice sculptor will be at the event to create something on-site, he added.

Even if there is no snow, the dog sled team will still participate, he added, and attendees can meet the dogs.

In addition, visitors can enjoy a bonfire and refreshments such as hot dogs, hot chocolate and doughnuts.

Simone added there is also an ice rink at the park. The Copley Fire Department plans to flood the area with water with hopes that it will freeze enough to be used for those with skates.

The event is free and open to all, he said.

Coming up Feb. 9 is Chillin’ on the Hill, the third annual winter recreation event in Bath. It will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Bath Nature Preserve. Those who attend the free event are asked to park at the Bath Community Activity Center lot, 1550 N. Cleveland-Massillon Road, and walk under the road to the Nature Preserve. There also will be some parking at the Ira Road Trailhead, according to township customer service employee Jan Reed.

Weather permitting, there will be sledding and cross country skiing for those who bring their own sleds and skis. Also planned is snowman building and a winter hike led by Greg Smith, a University of Akron (UA) professor who is the UA Field Station manager at the Nature Preserve.

Reed said those who attend also can enjoy hot chocolate and s’mores by a warming barrel.

Slated to take place Feb. 14-17 is the 20th annual Medina Ice Festival at Medina Square in Downtown Medina. The event will begin Feb. 14 with three speed-carving competitions sponsored by Main Street Medina. The competition will start at 5:30 p.m., with round two at 6 and the final round to win the contest at 6:30.

The popular Fire and Ice Tower, which features a dozen blocks of ice stacked and filled with wood and lit on fire, will be lit at 7 p.m. The Tower will stand until it melts or crumbles.

On Feb. 15, there will be team-carving competitions from 1 to 4 p.m., and the following day will feature individual carving competitions from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All ice sculptures will be on display through Feb. 17.

Admission is free at the event, sponsored by FirstMerit Bank, Main Street Medina, the city of Medina and Elegant Ice Creations. Parking in the Medina historical district is free.

Main Street Medina also will host a wine tasting/fundraising event at the Medina Convention and Visitors Bureau, 32 Public Square, during the festival. Four different wines will be served at $5 a glass. Hours are Friday from 4:30 to 9 p.m., Saturday from 1 to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.

For additional information, visit the website www.mainstreetmedina.com or call 330-952-0910.

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