A recent cold spell in the area has been the perfect primer for Mayville's annual ice castle and snow-filled President's Day weekend activities.
Mayville will be hosting the annual Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival Feb. 14-16. The festivities will commence with opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. on Friday in Lakeside Park, where events will continue through Sunday.
According to David Douglas, supervisor for the ice castle construction, the castle could be completed as early as Friday.
Volunteers work to construct the ice castle in Lakeside Park, Mayville, for the upcoming Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival.
"This year has been better than usual because of the thickness of the ice. We've been able to cut 13-to-15-inch blocks this year," Douglas explained.
Other years, the castle has been built with blocks half the size, taking twice as long to construct.
One construction volunteer added that after the castle is completed, the crew will still work on maintaining and touching up the creation.
Debbie Marsala, Mayville/Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce community coordinator, said the event began decades ago when residents built an ice castle for fun and has been happening off and on since then.
"This will be the 28th year the event has taken place," Marsala said.
"It is a great event to get people out of their houses to come and have fun," she said. "Hopefully it will be our best year yet."
According to Denny Demambro, manager of the Lakeview Hotel, the festival is great for local businesses.
"The festival is right across the street - our whole place is booked for that weekend," he said, adding that the increased business includes out-of-town visitors.
Several events during the festival will feature cash prizes for different age categories, including a snowball distance throwing contest, held at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday; judging of the Lego Creation Building contest for everyone age 3 and above, including an adult category, held at 4 p.m. on Sunday; judging of the Snowman/Animal Building contest, open to children ages 4 through 12 who bring their own materials to decorate their creation, held at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday; The Golf Ball Race, open to children aged 4 through 12 who can balance a golf ball on a tablespoon while moving around a track, will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. The fireworks display will be on Saturday at 8 p.m.
The festival will also feature a Pet Parade on Saturday at 3 p.m, judging for a chili contest on Sunday from 2 - 4 p.m and a Polar Bear Swim on Saturday at noon. To enter any of these three contests, contact the chamber office at 753-3113 for further details.
Volunteers willing to help set up for the event or work a booth during the event should contact Marsala at 753-3113.
For a complete list of events, dates and times, visit www.mayvillechautauqua.org/presidents-day-weekend-winter-festival-schedule-2014.