Officials Prepare For First Day Hike, Annual Winterfest Events

Officials Prepare For First Day Hike, Annual Winterfest Events
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PONCA – With the New Year now less than a month away it’s time to start making plans to attend a pair of great wintertime events.

According to a release from Ponca State Park, the 1st Day Hike and 10th annual Winterfest will be held on Saturday, January 1.

The group will trek into the New Year with a 9:00 a.m. guided hike on the Old Oak Trail followed by hot chocolate and a warm fire in the West Shelter. If Mother Nature provides enough snow, guests will be able to explore the trail in snowshoes.

At 10:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day, plan on enjoying an outdoor education program provided by the Ponca State Park Naturalist team and at high noon it’s the National Championship Fruitcake Fling. Visitors of all ages will throw wildlife friendly fruitcakes and compete for distance.

Following close behind the Fruitcake Fling is the Yule Log Quest at 2:00 p.m. For the Yule Log Quest, you will need a team of 3-5 members with a very creative name. The Yule Log Quest will begin with five minute-to-win-it challenges followed by five clues that will ultimately lead you to where the Yule Log is hidden. Once found by all teams, a horse and sleigh will pull the Yule Log from its hiding spot and take it to the bonfire where the winning team will have the honor of cutting off a section of the Yule Log; then they along with the Winter Sprite will place the cut section on the bonfire, bringing good will to all in the coming year.

At 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 1, lighted hayrack rides will begin traveling from the Resource and Education Center to the Tristate overlook, towers of time and back to the center. Guests will also be able to explore Whitetail Trail as the woodland gnomes have setup residence there.

All Winterfest and 1st Day Hike activities are family friendly and free. Prizes will be awarded during the National Championship Fruitcake Fling and Yule Log Quest but you must pre-register your Yule Log Quest team, as space is limited.

Also, many anglers are taking advantage of the warm weather to get in a few more days of river fishing. Boaters planning to launch into the Missouri River from the North Addition boat ramp at Ponca State Park need to be aware that some ongoing electrical work may affect river access. If you are planning to launch from the Ponca State Park North Addition boat ramp, call the park for an update on the accessibility of the ramp.

Call Ponca State Park at 402-755-2284 for additional details or for more information, like Ponca State Park NE on Facebook.