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Winterfest gets warm reception amid 'non-stop fight' with weather

Event at ODAS Park draws crowd despite mild temperatures; 'When I see families walking around having a good time, that makes it worthwhile,' says organizer

Overcoming all obstacles, Severn Winterfest was enjoyed by many on Saturday.

Because of mild temperatures, several attractions had to be removed or altered, but it hasn't dampened spirits, says Chad Cooke, president of the event held at ODAS Park.

"This year has been a big struggle with volunteers and weather," he said. "Every time we turned around, we had to add events, change events or switch how we did things. This year was just a non-stop fight."

There were only 30 volunteers for this year’s event, leaving organizers short about 20 people.

"We definitely need more volunteers next year," Cooke said. "These events can only happen with volunteers, and it gets hard to do these events with not enough people."

He hoped more than 3,000 people would take in the event Saturday.

"It's a good family event that helps get families out doing things together, especially in the winter, when there is less to do and fewer reasons to be outside," he said.

Despite the challenges, Cooke says the efforts of ODAS Park and its volunteers to make the event happen were worth it.

"When I see families walking around having a good time, that makes it worthwhile. It renews why we do it," he said.

Clayton Mawdsley spent Saturday with his seven-year-old son and six-year-old daughter at ODAS Park.

"For us, this is a good excuse to get out of the house," he said. "It's a good opportunity to enjoy some decent weather."

The highlights of the day for Mawdsley's children were the inflatables and the pancake breakfast. For Mawdsley, it was connecting with friends he hadn't seen in a while.

"It's nice to kind of see people in passing," he said. "It's nice that an event like this can bring everybody together to have fun."

Todd Andrews, a wood carver from Whitby, spent the day chainsawing sculptures. It was the second time he attended Severn Winterfest.

"It's great to come out here, see the kids and talk with people," he said. "It's great to see families out in the wintertime."

Andrews says he enjoys performing for people at Severn Winterfest.

"The kids just love it. It's just something different and they love guessing which animal I'm carving," he said.


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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