Winterfest lures 12,000 attendees

Feb 1 2011 - 12:39am

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NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner
Participants gather along 25th Street for Winterfest on Saturday in Ogden.
NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner
Participants gather along 25th Street for Winterfest on Saturday in Ogden.

OGDEN -- The city's second annual Winterfest proved to be the hottest ticket in town over the weekend, drawing thousands of spectators and flooding downtown restaurants with hordes of hungry customers.

The event that began Friday and concluded Saturday attracted an estimated 12,000 people to venues that included 25th Street from Adams to Grant avenues as well as an area on Grant between 25th and 26th streets, said Kevin Ireland, Winterfest coordinator.

"It was huge," Ireland said of the attendance.

It hasn't been determined if the city made a profit on Winterfest, he noted, adding the goal of the event was to financially break even.

Winterfest featured a variety of events, such as a toboggan parade, human dog sledding, snowmobile, cross country, 5K and ski-bike races, and a polar bear swim at Lorin Farr Pool.

Last year's inaugural Winterfest, which was plagued by rain and slushy conditions, drew about 7,000 spectators. In contrast, the weather Friday and Saturday was favorable, with temperatures during the day in the mid-30s, Ireland said. There were also more than 30 vendors at the event -- triple the number at last year's Winterfest -- which helped attract spectators, he added.

Although there was a concern a few weeks ago about a lack of snow, organizers were able to stockpile enough powder at Business Depot Ogden, the Dee Events Center at Weber State University and Ogden-Hinckley Airport, said Ireland. Several local construction firms donated their services free of charge to haul snow to venues.

Winterfest also proved to be a boon for numerous restaurants and taverns along Historic 25th Street.

Heidi Harwood, owner of The City Club and Brewski's, said her establishments were so busy over the weekend that she had extra staff on duty and other workers on standby.

"It was so much fun," she said.

Kym Buttschardt, owner of Roosters, also on Historic 25th Street, said Winterfest combined with the Sundance Film Festival, which had showings at Peery's Egyptian Theater, attracted a lot of customers to her business Saturday.

"Events bring people downtown, and we like that," she said.

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