BINGHAMTON, NY – A celebration of hockey under the sky continues to grow at Chenango Valley State Park.
The 5th annual Binghamton Pond Festival begins tomorrow and runs for 3 consecutive weekends.
129 teams from as far away as California and Texas are converging on Greater Binghamton are coming to play the game on a large outdoor rink constructed near the Pines Pavilion.
For the past 3 years, organizers have used a refrigeration system to ensure that there’s plenty of ice.
Broome Winterworks Executive Director Tytus Haller founded the event with his wife.
“A lot of the teams who travel here, they make comments to me about how they wish they could do something like this back in their homes. We’re lucky enough to have this here just as a totally different experience, different ambience. There’s kind of a camaraderie that comes with it, the setting that we have here in the park is very unique,” said Haller.
On hand to celebrate the occasion was the state’s new Commissioner for Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid.
He says its a great way to attract visitors to the park during its off season.
“Winter is not what you normally think of as the park season, but because of what we’re doing here, we’re able to have a lot of people in the park, thousands of people in here, enjoying themselves, drinking beer, getting warm and watching a lot of good hockey,” says Kulleseid.
Kulleseid strapped on his skates and took a turn on the ice.
Haller says he expects as many as 10,000 visitors over the course of the 3 weeks.
In addition to the hockey, there will be a food truck, beer trailer, bonfire and kids activities.
Plus, on January 25th, a trail run, snow shoe race and fireworks display.
The action runs Saturday and Sunday from morning into the evening with lights illuminating the rink.
A $10 donation for parking is requested and proceeds benefit the Mental health Association of the Southern Tier as well as youth sports programs and Friends of CV State Park.
There’s more info here.