Hamilton’s Solution to Cabin Fever

Hamilton's Solution to Cabin Fever

Tory Glerum

While it is certainly satisfying to sit and soak up the heat of the indoors as the temperature plummets and the snow piles up, month after month of a Hamilton winter can give even the most diehard homebodies a major case of cabin fever. On Saturday, March 3, however, Colgate students and Hamilton residents alike will come out of hibernation and gather downtown to let loose with tons of activities, contests, games and food. The air might be cold, but the spirit of the Cabin Fever Festival, featuring the ColorBurst Parade and the Create a Cabin and Faithful Friends Canine Costume Contests, will be anything but.

The festival will take place on the Hamilton Village Green and East Broad Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sponsored by the Partnership for Community Development, Cabin Fever is one in a series of festivals organized throughout the year including Storybook Holiday, which took place this past December, and Music Mix, which is scheduled for July 14.

Patricia von Mechow, the Partnership’s festival coordinator, said that her organization seeks to work with Colgate and the local community to inspire conversation and activity and improve Hamilton’s overall economic growth and development.

“Festivals and cultural events are an invaluable resource,” von Mechow said. “They bring in outsiders and are something the community can embrace and enjoy.”

This upcoming Cabin Fever Festival will be Patricia’s third as festival coordinator.

“We like to add a little something new each year,” von Mechow said, “This is the first time that the event will be opened up to the farmer’s market.”

Weather permitting, vendors will set up on the Green and sell items such as jewelry, clothing, and dog treats.

The festival will also be preceded by two events: a square dance on Friday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, and the Hamilton Rotary Annual Pancake Breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. that morning at the Colgate Inn. Von Mechow said that the square dance is free, but that donations will be accepted.

“The church has been doing it for years,” von Mechow said. “It is real, basic fun.”

The Cabin Fever Festival itself will kick off at 11 a.m., and participants will have the chance to enter and/or vote in the Create a Cabin Contest. For those interested in building and decorating a small cabin to be entered, displayed and judged, the categories will do so according to the themes of “Nature’s Element,” which means using natural items found on the ground; “Use It Again” will use recyclables; and “Anything Goes” will incorporate anything non-harmful. Entry forms are available at the Hamilton Library and on the Partnership for Community Development website, or to pre-register, call the Partnership at (315)825-3537. Prizes will be awarded.

Von Mechow said that the contest has been co-sponsored by the Historical Preservation and Restoration Association of Greater Hamilton since last year.

“They embraced it,” von Mechow said. “Cabins go back to the time when Hamilton was first settled.”

Another contest of the day will be the Canine Costume Contest, co-sponsored by the Faithful Friends of Sherburne who will provide the prizes. Participants will dress up their dogs according to the categories of “Most Colorful,” “Superhero”, “Not Dog,” and “Dog & Owner Look-A-Like.” Those who participate in this contest will walk their dressed-up canines alongside wagons and sleds decorated for the theme of “Flower Power” in the ColorBurst parade, which will take place at noon. Paraders will march around the Village green.

Other events of the day will include maple sugaring and cabin building demonstrations, along with a Medallion Hunt. The Medallion Hunt is open to both children and adults, who will follow clues to search for two medallions handmade by the local artist Daune Martinez. The two lucky winners will then march in the front of the ColorBurst parade wearing their medallions, in addition to being able to keep them as prizes.

“Each year artists make new medallions,” von Mechow said. “They are really quite the treasure.”

Another competition will be the Chili Contest, in which six local restaurants will present samples of the hot and savory treat, and festival-goers will drop a kidney bean to vote upon the one that most tickles their taste buds.

Hungry participants will also be able to satisfy their appetites with barbequed chicken provided by the Hamilton Lion’s Club, fried dough and hot chocolate courtesy of Warren Maple products, and baked goods from Hamilton Library’s Literary Bake sale.

In addition to including other community organizations and local merchants, Patricia said that the Partnership always welcomes Colgate students and clubs to participate in the festivals. At last winter’s Cabin Fever Festival, the Pep Band provided trumpet music for the parade while members of the Juggling Club interspersed themselves among the marchers and demonstrated their skills. The Juggling Club will be returning to participate in this year’s event alongside Colgate Outdoor Education, who will be able to demonstrate winter life skills by building igloos.

While the Cabin Fever Festival is largely a family event, it is definitely open to all interested in attending.

“Anybody can come and have fun,” von Mechow said.

Von Mechow, would especially like to spread the word about the 5,733 Snowman Challenge to all Colgate students and clubs, including fraternities and sororities. The title of the event is a tribute to the number of residents that lived in the township the year of its invention.

“I would love to have people come down and start building snowmen this week,” von Mechow said.

Need an incentive? A lot of snowmen this year could kick off the process of ultimately applying for the Guinness Book of World records.