A group of people on a wagon in the snow during the Selkirk Shores Winterfest
Special Events,  Upstate New York

Winter Festivals in Oswego County Celebrate the Snowy Season

No place celebrates the winter season as well as a place with lake effect snow. So it’s no surprise that there are several winter festivals in Oswego County. These celebrations bring people out and give them a reason to get together in the coldest months. From ice sculptures and food festivals to snow-covered trails and scavenger hunts, these festivals have something for everyone. Let’s take a look at the festivals from January and get an idea of what is coming up next.

Selkirk Shores State Park Winterfest

📍Sandy Creek

The winter festivities kicked off at Selkirk Shores State Park in Sandy Creek, and the weather was perfect. Snow had covered the ground and continued to fall in big, fluffy snowflakes. We trekked our way along the trail to get to the community building from the parking lot. The best part about this festival? It’s completely FREE.

Once inside, there was a variety of activities to enjoy. Kids could join in on a few different winter-themed crafts at the center picnic tables, or explore outside during a scavenger hunt. Typically the festival includes horse-drawn wagon rides through the snow. But the temperature was so low this year, they opted for a tractor instead for the safety of the horses.

Once we signed up for our turn on the wagon ride, we grabbed some popcorn and got cozy by the fireplace. I have to say, the wagon ride was perfect. It screamed winter adventure with the snow-covered trees and trails. And did I mention that it was free?

In addition to the popcorn, there was also cookies and hot cocoa for people to enjoy. And everything about the festival – including the wagon ride – was dog-friendly. So it was great to see so many pups enjoying the winter day too.

Lastly, visitors could explore the park’s trails on their own via hiking boots or snowshoes.

Salmon River Winter Festival

📍Pulaski

Name a festival with a food challenge, and I’m there! Luckily, the Salmon River Winter Festival had not one, not two, but THREE food challenges. One for each day of the festival. There were a total of 17 restaurants participating in the competition in and around Pulaski. Friday’s challenge was mac & cheese, Saturday was chicken wings, and Sunday finished off with a chili competition.

While I was sad to miss out on Friday’s mac and cheese contest, I was just as happy to enjoy the wing walk on Saturday. Once we were finished at Selkirk Shores, we headed over to Half-Shire Historical Society in Richland to get started. For just $10, we got our “tickets” for the wing walk (a map with room for our scores on the back). 14 of the 17 spots were participating in the wing walk, and with 2 wings at each spot, it was a total of 28 wings. And 28 wings for just $10 in today’s economy? That’s the best deal around!

While we were worried the weather might deter some folks from participating, we were pleased to find the places bustling with visitors. Enough that it was busy but not crowded. Out of all the stops, I think my favorites were the ones at Millhouse Market and the Riverhouse. But there were lots of great flavors and we definitely found a few new restaurants and bars that we want to visit again.

While we were enjoying our wings, we came across a performance by the Lake Ontario Broom Riders, which is always a delight to see. Other festival activities included live music and ice sculptures.

Upcoming Winter Festivals in Oswego County

Whether you missed the festivals in January – or you just can’t get enough – here are some more winter festivals coming up in Oswego County.

February 3 – 24th Annual Great Eastern Whiteout

February 17 – 4th Annual Vintage Snow Festival

Lake Ontario Broom Riders performing during the Pulaski Winterfest
Lake Ontario Broom Riders performing during the Salmon River Winter Festival

Tell me your thoughts!