Bemus Point To Hold Annual Winter Festival

BEMUS POINT — Fireworks and live music will fill the air at the 2019 annual Winterfest.

The Bemus Point Golf Club and Tap House will host the event that has grown to over 500 attendees in the past six years. Proceeds from Winterfest benefit five snowmobile clubs in Chautauqua County.

The clubs are the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club, the Cherry Creek Sno-Goers, the Ellery Sno Cruisers, the Lake Effect Trailbreakers Snowmobile Club and the Sunset Sno Drifters. The funds will be divided equally between the five clubs.

The event will take place Saturday from noon-6 p.m. and will include prizes, vendors and other activities.

Winterfest has been held since 2013 and has been organized by five community members from the beginning. They are Bryce and Rachael Steffen, Jenna Head, Ryan Crandall and Mitch Splawski. Together they are the Winterfest Committee.

“That is what makes this event so unique,” Rachael Steffen said. “It is not put on by just one business, but many like-minded individuals.”

The idea for the event came when the group decided it wanted to give back to their community. The first meeting of the committee led to the first Winterfest in 2013.

“We all worked together as a team and decided that it would be fun to do a winter festival,” Steffen said.

When asked how the Village of Bemus Point views the event, Mayor Bryan Dahlberg said the event helps economically, in addition to being entertaining.

“It’s a nice event that trickles down economically to other businesses,” Dahlberg said. “Even when there is mud on the ground, it is a fun event.”

In addition to vendors, there will also be activities for snowmobiles and prizes. Prize giveaways include automotive packages, a boat rental, snowmobile gear and apparel, a 64-ounce drink tank, and gift certificates from various local businesses. In total, there will be over $45,000 in prizes.

A Christmas Tree bonfire will also take place all day.

According to Steffen, the most highly anticipated event of the day is the Chinese Auction.

“Our Chinese auction is the largest in the county,” Steffen said. “This is the event that is usually the most popular.”

Throughout the day, participants can park cars or snowmobiles at the Tap House. Parking is free and also available at the Bemus Point Elementary School bus garage on Main Street and the boat launch on Springbrook Avenue. Snowmobiles can arrive east or west from trail C4A of the Ellery Sno Cruisers and the connector trail at Bemus-Ellery Road to get to the event.

New this year is the addition of live music and a fireworks show. The Porcelain Bus Drivers will perform from 1 to 5 p.m. The fireworks will begin at 6 p.m. The fireworks wouldn’t have been possible without funds raised by the committee. It was their last minute decision to fund them this year. The funds were raised within 24 hours.

Additionally, Steffen said the funds were raised “organically” (by local community members).

“They were raised for by individuals and not by businesses,” she said. “We were able to raise enough (organic) money just in time at the last minute and that in and of itself is amazing.”

When asked what makes the 2019 Winterfest different from those of the past six years, Steffen said she is proud of how the festival has grown over time.

“We’re really pleased with how its grown and we know many people are looking forward to it,” Steffen said.

“We have had many people asking when it is.”

In 2018, Winterfest hosted over 40 vendors and had over 500 visitors. During its past six years of operation, Winterfest has also raised a combined total of over $26,000 for regional snowmobile clubs.

This year there are various sponsors taking part to make the festival possible. Sponsors fall into three categories and are based on the amount of money donated towards the event. They are bronze, silver and gold. Bronze sponsors have given $150. Silver sponsors have given $300. Gold sponsors have donated $500. There are six gold sponsors for the 2019 Winterfest. In total there are over 100 sponsors.

“There are so many to count that it’s hard to know exactly,” Steffen said.

Registration is $30 for vendors with all proceeds going directly to the five snowmobile clubs. Set up time is Saturday before 11 a.m.

Information on snowmobile trails is available at the New York State Snowmobile Association’s website: nysnowmobiler.com.

Tickets can be purchased at the Bemus Point Golf Club and Tap House at 72 Main St. or directly at Winterfest.

More information can be found on Winterfest 2019’s Facebook page or by emailing WinterFestCHQ@gmail.com.

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