Sun Shines On Winterfest

ST. MARYS — After inclement weather postponed an annual holiday festival, the activities kicked off again for Winterfest Sunday in Memorial Park.

The St. Marys Optimist Club sponsors the annual festival, which brings exotic animals, ice skating, Santa Claus, cookies and hot chocolate, entertainment and a live nativity to town each year.

“It was originally scheduled for two weeks ago,” Optimist Winterfest Chair Virg Bertke said, noting rains pushed back the festival. “Everything is pretty much the same as we planned, but Santa Claus has already been here. But he will be in the parade anyway.”

He added the weather was much better this Sunday than the original date.

“It’s a lot better day,” he said. “The sun’s out. We couldn’t ask for a nicer winter day.”

The festival kicked off at 2 p.m. with ice skating at the park.

“Ice skating started at 2 and it will go to 7,” Bertke said. “It will shut down for the parade.”

Following the 4 p.m. parade, Living Hope Assembly of God, a local church, put on its first live nativity of the night.

“The first one is at 4:30 and the second is at 6:30,” he said. “We’ll have the entertainment before they do the live nativity again.”

Optimist Leslie Triplett organized the entertainment for the evening.

“The local KDK group will be performing five or six songs,” Triplett said. “Raylee Smith is going to be singing.”

She noted there were a lot of young performers scheduled for the night.

“A lot of kids wanted the opportunity to get up and sing for everyone,” she said.

Other performers included Kiersten Feuilling, Leah Gilbert, Hannah Felver and Emily Saintignon.

Bertke noted the attendance so far during the day had been good.

“So far, it’s looked pretty good,” he said. “The ice rink has been busy the whole time, and a lot of people have been walking around the park.”

Triplett noted the Optimists are always looking for new members.

“It’s a great organization,” she said. “We just need more people to do everything we want to do.”

All of the group’s activities, she noted, have a common goal.

“Everything we do is for the kids,” she said. “It’s all for the local kids.”

Anyone interested in joining the Optimists can contact Triplett at 419-305-0833.