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First Winterfest a Flurry of Fun and Festivities

A bucksin mounted cowboy pulls the yule log to the fire.

[ Photo Gallery]

A fresh blanket of snow welcomed participants to the first WINTERFEST event held on Dec. 29 at Ponca State Park.   Over 350 people ventured out to enjoy the wide variety of activites and events offered for the day long entertainment.  Family, friends and outdoor enthusiasts participated in the fun, creating snowmen, works of art, good eats and overall great memories to take home with them at the days end.  If you didn’t attend this year here’s what you missed:

The indoor activities included gingerbread cookie decorating, wreath making, popcorn strings and pine cone bird feeders, card decorating, family group photographs and hand making holiday ornaments.

The outdoor events included a fruitcake fling toss,  a youth kindling hunt and slick  sledding hill.  A Yule Log Quest competition drew 9 teams (35 participants) that competed in a series of challenges on a hunt to locate the Yule Log within the park. Once the log was located, it was pulled out by lasso and horse, cut to size, then brought to a bonfire where awards were presented to the team winners.

All day “Drop In” activities included a student art show, wine and cheese tasting, mini-lodge open house and free refreshments that included cookies, wassail, hot chocolate and coffee.  Lunch and a homemade soup supper were also available to visitors to keep their energy levels up.

Evening Lighted Hayrack Prepares to the Take off Into the Winter Darkness

Lighted hayrack rides at sunset and an evening topper event that included entertainment with cowboy poet R.P. Smith reading selections from his favorite works to finish up a fun-filled day.

For a facebook photo album visit: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.584557118235529.231205.120055201352392&type=1

Plans are in place for the second annual event so make plans now to attend and don’t miss out on the fun.

The park also held a  FIRST DAY HIKE on new years day. More than 40 people stepped out to brave the cold and ice on New Year’s Day to hike more than 80 miles of trails at Ponca State Park as part of an effort by America’s State Park’s to promote healthy lifestyles within nature’s beauty.

Hot apple cider and cookies were served to participants at the Resource and Education Center.  A happy and healthy trek was had by all.

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