Will Portsmouth’s popular Winterfest be the latest victim of the COVID-19 virus? Fears about spreading the virus already shut down River Days, the full-scale Scioto County Fair, dozens of other local events, and even the Big Ten fall football season.
Winterfest is been a big part of the recent revival of Portsmouth’s Boneyfiddle area. Last year’s events included:
- ice skating
- carriage rides
- train rides
- snow tube slide
- live animal nativity
- live music
- a vendor village
- face painting
In fact, ice skating and carriage rides were so popular, organizers kept them around until the end of January. Winterfest drew national attention in 2018 when local singers broke the world record for Christmas caroling and again in 2019 when Portsmouth was named a Hallmark Hometown Christmas Town. The National Civic League mentioned Winterfest as one of several factors that went into the decision to name Portsmouth an All America City for 2020.
If the festival were canceled, it could be a devastating blow to local restaurants and small businesses that depend on the traffic generated by visitors to Winterfest.
No Winterfest Answers Yet
I checked in with Bryan Smith, the assistant director of Friends of Portsmouth. Friends of Portsmouth is the organization behind Winterfest, Boneyfiddle Beautification, Plant Portsmouth, and several other civic projects. I asked Smith if Winterfest was still scheduled. I also wanted to know what types of changes might be made to events in light of COVID-19.
Smith said he wouldn’t have an answer quite yet. “We are in the planning stages and I really don’t have the info just yet that you are looking for. Hopefully, by the end of September, I can give you a rundown of what we will have and what it will look like.”
So, right now, I don’t have any definite answers. We’ll stay on top of this story. SCDN will get back to you as soon as any decisions are made about Winterfest.