December 1, 2021

Homer village needs a white green Jan. 24, 25

Warm weather may limit Winterfest; chill may be coming

S.N. Briere/staff reporter

What’s wrong with this picture? No ice rink. A mild winter means the village of Homer hasn’t been able to pour water for the rink on the village green, bringing into question whether it will be able to have skating at Winterfest on Jan. 24 and 25.

The Village Green in Homer may very well just be green for Winterfest this year after a mild winter has made it difficult to create the ice rink and cold weather and large snow accumulations aren’t forecasted for the week before the event.

“We’ve tried packing it down there several times,” said Mike Harter, the superintendent for the village Department of Village Works. “If it doesn’t stay cold for an extended period of time, it’s hard to keep it frozen.”

Temperatures have been anywhere from the high 20s to the high 40s over the past couple weeks — and as high as 63 on Saturday — making it hard for the water to stay frozen.

“If it freezes next week, we could probably get it done,” he said, noting it takes about a week to create the rink.

However, he said it looks touch and go. Temperatures during the week will be below freezing at night but above freezing during the day until Thursday, according to the National Weather Service at Binghamton.

If you go

What: Homer Winterfest
When: Jan. 24 and 25
Where: Across the village of Homer
Details: Go to

But Winterfest Committee member Brenda Contento said people shouldn’t worry — the 20th annual Winterfest will go on.

“There are a lot of indoor activities,” she said.

Children’s activities will take place at Homer Elementary School. The Phillips Free Library in Homer will host Cornell University’s Raptor Program, showcasing birds of prey. And the antique and craft shows will also still happen.

Contento said it would be great to have snow for the outdoor activities, but if not, there is a back up plan.

“Human dog sled, we still do that,” she said. “I believe they just spray the sleds.”

Also the sculptures seen throughout the weekend don’t need to be made of snow or ice either.

“One year I believe we had someone make one with a card table and lawn chair,” she said. “Creativity is needed when we don’t have natural snow.”

One downfall to possibly milder temperatures is that the ice sculptures will likely only last that weekend. Contento said last year they lasted for about another week after the event. This year there will be either seven or eight sculptures.

But there could be an upside to the milder weather.

“When it 30, 40 degrees out more people can go out and do things,” she said. “I think we’ll have a great turnout anyway, we always do. I don’t think we’ve ever had a year with low participation.”