A host of activities beginning Saturday morning are planned for the downtown Canandaigua winter festival.
CANANDAIGUA — No excuses will be accepted for hibernating Saturday, as the Downtown Canandaigua Fire and Ice Winter Festival offers a host of cool activities that will warm hearts throughout the day and into Sunday.
The annual festival will have some changes. For instance, instead of a chili contest this year, local chefs will be offering up their best macaroni-and-cheese dishes for judging.
But, some popular events will be returning, including breakfast with familiar faces from the film “Frozen,” winter characters and superheroes. Simply Crepes and Gateway Grille will host breakfast with the wintry crew, from 9 to 11 a.m. Those characters, as well as superhero characters, will be strolling the streets.
“It was a huge hit, so we’re bringing them back,” said Denise Chaapel, manager of the downtown Business Improvement DIstrict.
And there is more.
On the fire side, visitors can enjoy an opening ceremony involving Special Olympics and firemen, as well as a fire safety presentation and fire extinguisher demo at the Commons Stage.
The first 200 kids who show up beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday receive a fire chief’s hat. They also can experience what it’s like to be a Canandaigua fireman for a day.
Elektra & Odin will be performing a fire show on the Commons Stage at 1 p.m., while the Finger Lakes Community College Woodsmen team will participate in a team fire build competition from noon to 2 p.m.
Cinderella Glass Works will be having glass- and candle-making demonstrations at its larger location at 155 S. Main St.
On the ice side, a professional ice-carving competition is planned at 10:30 a.m., with awards to be handed out at 4 p.m. A professional speed carving event is set for 3 p.m., with carvers having 15 minutes to make their pieces. The events are sponsored by the Canandaigua Downtown Merchants Association.
Bristol Mountain will offer its snow experience from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wildlife Rockstars will introduce a baby eagle owl to visitors from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a Siberian husky dog sled team will be here from noon to 3 p.m.
A snowshoeing and cross country ski guided tour along the Ontario County Pathways trail will start at the railroad tracks near Patty’s Place. The tours take off on the hour, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call RV&E at 585-393-5680 for information and to reserve equipment.
Some of the activities serve both purposes, with a cocoa crawl of participating businesses planned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ($5 collectible mugs are limited to the first 200 participants). Also, Lazy Acre alpacas will be visiting from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and horse-drawn wagon rides are planned from noon to 3 p.m.
The Amazing Magic Joe will perform at 12:30 and 2 p.m. inside Unique Toy Shop.
Several eateries are participating in the Downtown Macdown macaroni and cheese competition, and local breweries will be vying for the Best Brewery crown. The contests run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with awards ceremony planned at 3:30 p.m.
Tickets, which are $10 and limited to the first 500 participants, are available at the information booth at 115 S. Main St.
While most of the activities are scheduled for Saturday, there is reason to make a return visit Sunday, Chaapel said.
In previous years, visitors who missed the Saturday fun would come the next day to see the ice sculptures. So several businesses will be offering specials for those enjoying these icy works of art, Chaapel said.
“At the end of the day, we’ll have 25 to 30 carvings,” Chaapel said.