Although the weather produced more sleet than snow, the Jamestown Audubon Society’s annual Snowflake Festival still drew one of its larger crowds.
On Saturday, hundreds of area residents converged at the Audubon to partake in the variety of activities and demonstrations offered at what has become a primary fundraiser for the nonprofit organization.
The event included both indoor and outdoor attractions, both of which experienced heavy, sustained foot traffic throughout the course of the event. Some activities available to festival-goers included: a Boy Scouts cooking demonstration; cross-country skiing; a look at Liberty, the Audubon’s resident American Bald Eagle, in her constructed habitat; hiking with a naturalist; showshoeing; birdhouse and feeder building; animal displays; giveaways; a Chinese auction; and horse-drawn sleigh rides.
According to Ruth Lundin, president of the Jamestown Audubon Society, the Snowflake Festival has existed for more than two decades, and community support for the annual event only continues to grow.
“I think this is one of the better turnouts we’ve had in the last couple of years, and everyone seems to be having a great time,” Lundin said. “I think, this year, we’re really seeing a rise both in the number of people who have come and, also, in the number of vendors and exhibits we have on hand. This event sort of kicks off our year, and it’s a wonderful way to do that because it’s so unique.”
Lundin said the most popular attractions over recent years have tended to include the Wild Spirit Education raptor demonstrations, presented by Executive Director Paul Fehringer and his volunteers, Dun Roving Farm’s Suri alpacas and the Tails of the Tundra Siberian Husky Rescue’s hourly kicksled demonstrations.
Andrea DiMaio and Mark Maksin, volunteers of Tails of the Tundra, presented information on the huskies and the sleds themselves during the demonstration. DiMaio said the huskies are personally owned by Tails of the Tundra volunteers and the dogs thrive on the activity involved in the kicksled demonstrations.
“They need a ton of exercise,” she said. “They also can never be let off the leash. Huskies will keep running. They are nomadic, and they run away from people. Therefore, they make perfect sled dogs.”
Maksin said the maximum number of sled dogs that can be lined together on a team is 16, at which point one would do well to choose the lead dog wisely.
“When you get 16 dogs, you’ve got to have complete faith in that dog out front,” Maksin said. “You’re lead dog is seeing things around corners that you have no clue are even there. So, good lead dogs are invaluable.”
The Snowflake Festival is one of the more popular events hosted by the Jamestown Audubon Society in terms of community response. It is traditionally held on the first Saturday in February.