Buffalo Winterfest and Powderkeg Festival

For better or for worse, Buffalo is known far and wide for snow. While statistically not the snowiest place in the nation, we have managed to earn a reputation that we likely will not shake anytime soon. As a result, many western New Yorkers have learned to embrace this aspect of our region. You know what they say, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Once you find something to get excited about in the winter, you have a reason to look forward to it and suddenly the return of “the white stuff” doesn’t seem so bad. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when even the best of us don’t want to get 20 mile per hour, single-digit temperature winds in our faces while we scrape ice off our cars, but there is just something that Buffalonians understand about winter that few others can. And there is no question that Buffalo is a diehard hockey town, when the Sabres make the first round of the playoffs you’ll see people running down the street banging pots and pans, shouting “We’re gonna win the Cup!” (Yes, that actually happened on St. James Place during the 2006 playoff run!) While that may be an extreme case, the fact remains that Buffalo is the place to be for winter time fun.

The Buffalo Powderkeg Festival and Winterfest’s slogan says it all, “In downtown Buffalo, we don’t fear winter, we revel in it!” Another strong addition to a growing list of reasons to get excited about snowy winters in the North-East, Buffalo Winterfest is an event not to be missed. This year will be the second installment of the festival, and while it was a smashing success last year it’s shaping up to be even bigger and better this time around. Last year’s most popular attractions were the world record setting ice maze and tubing on the Seneca Street exit ramp of the skyway! It’s a community event in western New York, so naturally there will be plenty of live music, food and Labatt Blue on-hand and for a taste of local flavor, the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery is in the center of the action to provide some of the best craft brews and dining in the city.

Highlights this year include and ice sculpture carving, igloo building, a snowman building contest and the return of competition broomball hockey and tubing on the skyway. The ice maze and skyway tubing tended to have substantial lines last year (the experiences are well worth the wait!), so brace yourself for a bit of a chilly wait and dress warm. The festival schedule also includes a craft beer tasting event on Sunday afternoon and a chili cook-off. Western New York natives know that the secret to surviving the bitter cold is hot chili and a pint of lager or two.

This event takes all things good about winter in Buffalo and puts them all in one place for a weekend long celebration of what makes those long frozen months seem not long enough. Outdoor ice skating is also just a short ride up Main Street at the Rotary Rink in Fountain Plaza.

When: February 12-13, 2011

Where: HSBC Plaza