The Homer Winterfest is a family-friendly weekend chock full of events, kid's activities, entertainment, dining, shopping and more!
It's that special time of year again! The annual Winterfest in the Village of Homer is just around the corner. Now in it's 20th year, the activity-packed weekend will feature over 30 different events and activities from Friday through Saturday, January 24-25.
In celebration of 20 years, here are 20 reasons to revel in all the Winterfest fun coming to Homer.
There's no better way to kick off the festival than with a toasty bonfire. Bundle up and stroll behind the fire station where the Homer Fire Department will be building a spectacular warming fire starting at 6:30 p.m.
Light up the sky
Just as the bonfire is waning, look to the sky for the full-blown professional fireworks display by Pyrotechnico. The fireworks will be launched from Carroway Hill beginning at 6:50 p.m.
Ice, ice baby
Check out the finely chiseled works of art as the village is turned into a glowing ice display during the festival. Check out the live ice carving at 11:30 a.m. near the Fire Station.
Snow place like Homer
Walk through the village and gaze at the beautiful snow sculptures created by the locals. You can see the sculptures being made from Jan. 18 through Jan. 24, with a map of winners posted downtown and at the Junior High School on Saturday. Don't fret if it's a 'green' Winterfest. People who participate are encouraged to be creative and use alternative materials. If you'd like to stretch your creative muscle, call Steve at (607) 591-6337 to enter.
Delight your taste buds at the Homer Elks Lodge Fish Fry Dinner from 5:30-7 p.m. Proceeds go to the Elks Lodge.
The Homer Teachers' Association present a 607 Comedy Night Fundraiser on Friday at 9 p.m. The show will feature comedians from Comedy Central, Netflix, Last Comic Standing and more. Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 day of show. Proceeds will go towards the HTA Scholarship Fund.
Stack 'em up
Start the second day of Winterfest with a heaping plate of pancakes at the annual Pancake Breakfast. The volunteers at the Homer Fire Department Hose Company #2 will be cooking up a really good breakfast from 7-11 a.m. at the Paul Hill Community Building.
The festivities kick off on Saturday with the annual parade on Main Street. Marchers will include local dancers, fun characters, the mini school bus and more. Dress warmly and find a space in downtown by 10:15 a.m.
Shop local and pick up some treats at the Antiques Sale and Small Crafts Sale at the Homer Intermediate & Junior High School. Browse the collection of antiques and handmade items from local artisans and craft vendors.
Fun & games
Try your hand at some fun kid-friendly winter games at the Homer Elementary School! From face paintings to crafts, cookie decorating to games, there will be more than enough to keep the kiddos entertained. If you're looking for the ultimate educational reptile experience, look out for Dan the Snake Man. Doors open at 10 a.m. Admission is $3/person; $6/family.
If you're craving sugar and feel an urge to eat something sweet, stop by the Senior Center at the Homer Town Hall for an ooey-gooey cinnamon bun. Along with the popular sweet treat, there will be free popcorn and hot and cold drinks to enjoy while perusing the Flea Market.
Local Van Goghs
The Center for the Arts in Homer will unveil the grand opening of the Community Arts Challenge at 11 a.m. on Saturday. It will include an exhibit of visual art entries, performances of music, dance, poetry and drama entries, and the awarding of prizes in the fine arts, photography, artisan crafts, choreography, music and writing.
Take the reins
The Human Dog Sled Competition is sort of like regular dog sled races. Except instead of dogs, 2-4 people pull sleds carrying one more person through the Homer Village Green. It's a wacky tradition that's a sight to behold. Want to participate? Bring your sled, 2-4 runners and one rider. There are three age categories: Ages 13 & under, 14-18 and 19 & up.
Regional wines and cheeses can be found at the wine tasting event at the American Legion from 1-4 p.m. Taste the best from wineries around the central New York region. If you find one you like, you can purchase a bottle to take home with you. Anderson's Farm Market will also be on hand with a delectable array of cheeses.
Just wing it
Homer Winter Wingfest has arrived and with it the consumption of hundreds of wings! Grab a heaping plate of them at the Homer Elks Lodge between 1-3:30 p.m., and cheer on local celebrities as they test their wing-eating abilities at the popular Wing Eating Contest.
Sample delicious craft beers from local craft breweries during the Homer Elks Lodge beer tasting event from 1-3:30 p.m. Cortland County's very own, Cortland Beer Company and Homer Hops Brewing, will be on hand with their products, along with ONCO Fermentations, Hopshire Farm & Brewery and Summerhill Brewery.
If you're a little chili
Do you think you can make a prize-winning chili? Then here's your chance to find out. The annual Chili Cook-Off competition takes place on Saturday at Hobo's Bar & Grill. There are four prizes up for grabs - first and second for both Traditional and Specialty categories. If you'd like to take part, your HOT chili will need to be submitted between 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. on the day of the competition. If you'd rather eat than cook, it's up to the public to decide who the winners are so swing by the grill between 12:30-2 p.m. to find your favorite chili.
Happy as a clam
If you love clams, than the annual Winter Clamfest is where you'll get your fill! This very popular event begins at 4 p.m. at the Homer Elks Lodge. Only pre-sale tickets are available so call ahead today to as this event sells out quickly. Price is $7/dozen. Tickets can be bought at the Homer Elks Lodge or call (607) 749-4200.
Hungry? Why wait…
If you’re still hungry after a day of pancakes, cinnamon buns, chili, and clams, visit one of the village’s sit-down eateries. Dasher’s Corner Pub offers a diverse menu of steaks, seafood, burgers, salads, sandwiches and more, while Three Lil Birds Cakery and Sinfully Sweet have a delicious selection of soups and sandwiches.
Enjoy a shopping adventure in between festival events at one of Homer's small shops. Purchase an "I Vacationed in Homer" t-shirt from Homer Men & Boys, or find the perfect trinket for your home at Ash Decor. Bev & Co. carries a wide selection of women's clothing and jewelry, or pocket a unique find at Arnold's Florist or Olde Homer House.
These are just some of the great events that make up Homer Winterfest. Brochures with the full schedule and map are available at most area businesses, including the Experience Cortland office. The event’s website, www.homerwinterfest.org contain links to everything WinterFest including schedules, event descriptions, photos, and how to participate.
Share your Homer Winterfest shots with us! Tag @experiencecortland and use hashtag #experiencecortland for a chance to be featured.