CHENANGO FORKS, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – For the first time since 2020, the Binghamton Pond Festival is returning in person to Chenango Valley State Park.
Pond fest was created in 2016, but only two years later, it became one of the few outdoor hockey events to utilize mechanical refrigeration to manage weather concerns.
In fact, Pond Fest crews say that hockey can be played in temperatures exceeding 50 degrees.
The Commissioner of New York State’s Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, Erik Kulleseid visited state park this morning and said that it was the passion and commitment from the community that kept this festival top of mind even throughout the pandemic.
“We’re going to get ready to drop the puck and put the snow shoes back on the ground, and bear in mind you, state parks are not just about summer, they are about winter as well.”
There is expected to be around 100 teams participating, in the 3 weekend long tournament.
There are additional amenities this year including an inflatable dome where festival-goers can warm-up, listen to live music, watch a movie, and more.
A member of the pond fest crew, Ron Crawford says that this year’s event has more than ever.
“With the refrigeration, everything will go on, we’ll be able to have a full slate of games, despite the rain, despite the warmer temperatures so that is really exciting for us. If you’re sitting there worried about the weathers going to wipe it out, no it’s not, it’s still going to go on and it’s going to be great.”
The 220 by 110 foot ice sheet is the largest, outdoor refrigerated sheet of ice in North America.
There will also be a free, try hockey session where kids have access to a full trailer of equipment.
For more information, visit the event’s website at bingpondfest.com.