November 27, 2021

Fun, food at Winterfest

Participants brave elements for annual Homer event

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Liam O’Brien, Dakota Leubner and Aaron O’Brien pull Natalie Walrath during Saturday’s human dogsled race at Homer Winterfest.

Aaron O’Brien, Dakota Leubner and Liam O’Brien sprinted through orange cones around Homer’s town green Saturday with sled ropes in their hands as they pulled Natalie Walrath during Homer Winterfest.

The four, all 11 except for Walrath, who is 5, were the champions for the 12 and younger age group during the human dogsled race. The four, The Frosted Churros, said they didn’t practice for the race. That didn’t stop them from having fun.

“It’s great,” Aaron O’Brien said about Winterfest.

They had never been to Winterfest, which began in 2000, but they were excited to explore the activities happening inside Homer Elementary School nearby.

Activities like the race, as well as ice sculpting, games, food tasting were available. Absent, however, was ice skating on the Village Green, which was canceled due to warm weather during the weeks leading up to Winterfest.

A heavy wintry mixture of rain and snow kept many people inside though some, such as Michelle Reynolds and her two children Olivia, 6, and Coulter, 5, braved the elements to watch the parade on Main Street.

The three had participated in events Friday night, where they watched fireworks. The three thought about potentially seeing the chili cook-off after the parade, Michelle Reynolds said.

“It’s one of the best things about Homer,” she said. “They always have a lot of community activities and they get the community involved. It doesn’t matter what the weather’s like. They’ll still push through and it’s awesome.”

She also appreciated that it provided a good opportunity to get her children out during winter.

Olivia Reynolds said she was having a good time despite her hands being “freezing.”

Inside Homer Elementary School, people explored snakes, turtles and even an alligator on display from Dan the Snakeman.

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Kristabella Thorne, in pink jacket, and Karissa Kullmann, green jacket, look at ball pythons Saturday during Homer Winterfest.

“They’re awesome,” said 7-year-old Kristabella Thorne of Homer.

Karissa Kullman, 11, of Homer isn’t a fan of snakes in general, but she thought the white ball python was cool.

Shiloh Thorne, the girls’ mother, said they planned to get their faces painted, get some balloons and enjoy some snacks.

“I’m looking forward to it all,” Kullmann said. “Especially eating.”

“Food is food. It attracts women,” Shiloh Thorne said with a laugh.

Four-year-old Bryce Maynard had his fingerprints taken by Homer Police Officer T.K Huff inside the school’s cafeteria. Maynard had never had his finger prints taken before, said his mother, Alicia Maynard.

Was Huff nice to Bryce Maynard while Bryce was getting his fingers printed?

“No,” Maynard said, leaving Huff to drop his jaw.

“I’m just pretending,” Bryce quickly added.