Chardon WinterFest 2018 scheduled for Jan. 13

Chardon WinterFest 2018 is back for its seventh year celebrating the city’s reputation as “the snow capital of Ohio.”

And this year, there might actually be snow, organizers say.

The Chardon Tomorrow event begins at 2 p.m. Jan. 13 on Chardon Square and runs until the lighting of the popular “Fire & Ice Tower,” presented by University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center. The tower will be lit at dusk, estimated at 5:15.

Only two of the last seven WinterFests had more than a dusting of snow on the ground, and last year’s had record-breaking 70-degree temperatures. Activities had to be modified at the last minute and many visitors were wearing shorts.

“The 10-day forecast looks like the current snow will hold,” said Chardon Tomorrow Executive Director Mary Glauser. “Jack Frost’s prediction for the day of the event is 22 degrees and snow showers. We think we may see our first very winter-like WinterFest, but we’re always prepared for anything. That’s part of the fun!”

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Jeff Meyers of Elegant Ice Creations carves an ice sculpture of the Heritage House to be built on Chardon Square at the Chardon WinterFest on Jan. 17, 2015. (News-Herald file)

Attractions include several ice sculptures scattered throughout the square; live ice-carving demonstrations at 2, 3 and 4 p.m.; free carriage rides; sled dog demonstrations; and family friendly games such as cornhole, Frisbee golf and Connect Four. The Geauga Library Mobile Unit will be parked on Short Court for guests to warm up and pick out a new read.

New this year will be a visit from live reindeer, courtesy of Spring Mist Farms.

In addition, shops throughout the Square will be offering special discounts from 2 to 5 p.m. Participants can pick up a WinterFest shopping pass and, if they spend $25 or more, they will be entered to win four tickets to Chardon Tomorrow’s first Annual Chocolate Walk, Feb. 10.

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Jeff Meyers of Elegant Ice Creations Inc. works on an ice sculpture of a Hilltopper at the Chardon WinterFest on Jan. 19, 2013. (News-Herald file)

Chardon Boy Scouts will be selling hot dogs and refreshments at the Heritage House to support their events. Some restaurants around the square will be offering WinterFest specials for the day.

“WinterFest is a great way for us to give back to the community, and show everyone what Chardon has to offer,” Glauser said. “We hope that visitors take advantage of all of the free, winter-themed fun during the day and take the time to warm up the local economy by supporting our Main Street retailers and community organizations, like the Geauga Library, NAMI, and Boy Scouts.”

The event is presented by University Hospitals and Junction Auto Family.

Chardon Tomorrow, an Ohio Main Street program, is a nonprofit historic preservation and revitalization organization focused on the economic vitality of Chardon Square and the community. It is made up of community members and business leaders, and in need of more volunteers.

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Chardon WinterFest visitors gather around the Fire and Ice spectacle at dusk on Jan. 17, 2015, as the inside of an ice sculpture created by Jeff Meyers of Elegant Ice Creations is set on fire. (News-Herald file)

Follow Betsy Scott on Twitter @reporterbetsy.

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