SnowTown USA getting things started with Thompson Park circle freeze

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 5:06 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The weather is right and SnowTown USA is just days from getting underway. It brings back snow sculpting, ice skating and a slew of outdoor events to Watertown for the first time in years.

The roundabout in Thompson Park circle is flooded with ice for the first time in 23 years, say organizers.

It’s a returning tradition that dates back to the early 1900s.

“If you google the park circle freeze, you’ll see a picture of 1901 where people used to skate on the park circle here,” said David Daily, SnowTown board member.

It’s empty now, but in 48 hours, the hope is to fill it with skaters.

“I’d like to see some kids out here, rosy cheeks, skating,” said Jaime Benner-Clemons, SnowTown board member.

It’s part of the return of SnowTown USA, a little later than originally planned.

No snow and above-average January temperatures forced the board to postpone the event until this weekend.

“You know, it gets frustrating. But, it’s Mother Nature. It’s what we deal with up here,” said Daily.

Sitting inside Thompson Park are 6-foot wide, 8-foot tall snow blocks. But come this weekend, they’ll be transformed into a one-of-a-kind sculpture.

“The city has been really great on putting that together for us,” said Daily.

The snow blocks were put out overnight. Watertown Parks and Recreation crews have been working both day and night when the temperatures are cooler because the sun is down.

“We had to borrow a machine from Dry Hill and make snow. That went from 5 p.m. Sunday until about 10 a.m. yesterday,” said Benner-Clemons.

Ice skating and sculptures are hardly the only things on the schedule for this year’s snow-filled celebration. Live music, basketball and snow softball are all on the agenda.

“We have put so much time, effort, and energy into this and I just really hope the public enjoys it this weekend,” said Benner-Clemons.

Ice skating starts Thursday and the SnowTown opening ceremony will be held at Dry Hill Friday night at 6 o’clock.

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