WinterFest set to go regardless of weather

Three-day festival has skating rink even if there’s no ice

Posted 12/5/18

One thing you can count on at Thornton’s annual WinterFest: It doesn’t matter if the weather is freezing or disturbing balmy. The skating rink will be in great shape. Winterfest returns Dec 7-9 …

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WinterFest set to go regardless of weather

Three-day festival has skating rink even if there’s no ice

Posted

One thing you can count on at Thornton’s annual WinterFest: It doesn’t matter if the weather is freezing or disturbing balmy. The skating rink will be in great shape.

Winterfest returns Dec 7-9 to the Carpenter Park Fields for seasonal fun — with the annual Winterfest 5K race, plenty of decorations, Santa Claus and elves and an outdoor skating rink.

The celebration began in 2002 as a successor to the city’s usual Christmas light ceremony.

“More than anything, I think we are on the second generation of folks that like to come out and enjoy,” said Chris Steinke, the city’s recreation program and facilities supervisor. “It’s kind of a tradition.”

The city began offering outdoor skating soon after the festival started, with a rectangular rink for ice.

“We started with some little hockey players doing a demo and rented some skates,” Steinke said.

But the city decided it wanted a rink it could count on — even when the temperatures were well above freezing. The answer was rink with a polymer surface that skates great whether the weather is warm or cold.

“It’s plastic and we spray a silicone spray on top that makes it real slick,” he said. “It simulates ice, but it’s not real ice.”

It uses regular skates, and those can be rented during the festival.

“Kids can skate for a minimal charge,” he said.

The event kicks off Friday with the 6:30 p.m. lighting of the main Christmas tree, by Santa Claus and Thornton City Councilors. Kids are welcome to visit with Santa, go ice skating and visit food and craft vendors.

A Christmas beer garden runs until 9 p.m. each night.

Running race returns

The event gets back underway Saturday morning with the 9 a.m. WinterFest 5K around the park.This is the fourth year the race will be run. It starts and finishes in the center of Carpenter Park, by the amphitheater and the course winds around the park. Mike Coulter, recreation coordinator, said people are can dress up.

“They can run in a Santa outfit, but we don’t encourage it,” Coulter said. “But there will be a few people who dress up in ugly Christmas sweaters and other stuff.”

There’s a drawing for prizes afterward.

Early registration ends Dec. 5 on the city’s website, www.cityofthornton.net. Registration on race day $45 for adults and $30 for seniors or those 17-years-old and younger.

Santas Village reopens at 10 a.m. and that’s the center for activities for most of the day.

The village includes Santa’s house, where kids can come and visit, and an Elf house where people can stop by and watch Santa’s helpers hard at work.

The event tent will host a holiday market, selling crafts and goods from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and ice carvers will be demonstrating their art nearby.

The Thornton Community Band is scheduled to perform holiday favorites beginning at 7 p.m.

A fireworks show at 8:30 p.m., choreographed to Christmas music.

The festival reopens at 5 p.m. Sunday with the beer garden, food, crafts, skating and performances by the Thornton Community Chorus.

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