UB to host fifth-annual Winterfest

Event highlighted by indoor and outdoor ice rinks

On January 30, 2014

  • The UB community will have the opportunity to participate in UB’s fifth-annual Winterfest on Saturday. Among many events, students may participate in a horse and carriage ride, skating on indoor and outdoor rinks and a broomball tournament. Last year, students played hockey (above). Courtesy of Steve Morse

When Carolyn Cormier was younger, she would spend some winters skating on a makeshift ice rink in a nearby field. Now, the senior psychology major has the opportunity to enjoy a similar experience on campus.

On Saturday, students will have a chance to make the most out of the freezing weather with plenty of winter activities at UB's fifth official Winterfest. Events will start at noon on the Student Union Field and feature outdoor and indoor ice rinks.

"I always encourage students [to attend] - even if they're not huge fans of the cold," said Kerry Spicer, associate director of student unions and activities. "There's a ton to do indoors and outdoors. And even if they're not familiar with the sports, just to come try them out. It's what Winterfest is all about."

Though this will be UB's fifth celebration of Winterfest, the event is based on the same kind of activities students have been enjoying unofficially since the 1950s.

Spicer said UB would often find students skating on Lake LaSalle or spot spontaneous snow sculptures around campus.

UB moved the location of Winterfest this year from the South Lake community space to SU Field to accommodate the new outdoor ice rink. The main traffic path makes the event more accessible students, whether they're on or off campus.

Matthew Sweet, president of the Resident Hall Association (RHA), anticipates increased attendance due to the larger venue. RHA is involved in the snowman building and igloo making competitions. RHA awards prizes to the winners of the various competitions.

Sweet believes the addition of an indoor ice-skating rink will free students from anxiety about weather affecting Winterfest.

The indoor rink is made from a synthetic material that is neither cold nor wet, according to Spicer. It will be set up in the Student Union next to video game stations, along with chili-in-a-bag and a movie that has yet to be selected.

Free ice skate rentals will be offered with student ID at the indoor and outdoor rinks, with 22 pairs available.

During Winterfest Saturday, the outdoor rink will be turned into a playing field for a tournament of broomball - a game similar to hockey, originally from Canada, that Spicer said has developed a "following" at UB. It involves players hitting a ball on the ice (with sneakers, no ice skates needed) with a broom-like stick to the opposing team's goal.

Broomball teams have the opportunity to win a trophy and Tim Hortons gift cards.

While the outdoor rink is in use for the games, ice bowling will be available alongside broomball and students who are looking to ice skate will be moved to the indoor rink.

The new location allowed Winterfest to add sledding down the hill next to the Center For the Arts to the long list of activities.

Additionally, horse-drawn carriage rides will travel around the field.

Spicer said to also watch out for the yeti that will appear throughout the activities to get students excited for the winter fun.

"We figured Victor E. Bull wasn't enough," Sweet said. "Why not throw a little bit of that winter weather cheer with the yeti?"

Throughout the week, the Office of Student Life has been handing out gloves and scarves for free to promote the event, according to Spicer.

Cormier plans to volunteer for Winterfest again, as she did last year. She views the event as an opportunity to bond with her friends and encourages other students to do the same.

"Buffalo is known for its cold weather and everyone gets a little miserable when it's this cold," Cormier said. "I think it's really great UB provides an opportunity to have fun outside and see that there is more to winter than staying inside."


email: news@ubspectrum.com

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