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Winter festival returns to Ste Marie among the Iroquois

Sainte Marie among the Iroquois is getting ready to host the annual Mid-Winter Festival from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday Feb. 27 at the museum in Liverpool. Based on ancient Iroquois mid-Winter ceremonial traditions, two popular activities that highlight the event are the Snowsnake and dog sled demonstrations.

A Snowsnake is a six-foot long narrow straight stick, skillfully carved into a streamline shape and highly polished. The ancient North American game of Snowsnake, still a popular Native American game, is played by launching a Snowsnake down a frozen snow ramp. The winner is the person with the longest throw. Fred Kennedy, a Seneca and a Snowsnake champion and instructor, will demonstrate his technique and patiently help anyone wishing to test their skill at throwing a Snowsnake.

Members of the Pennsylvania Dog Sled Club will give dog sled demonstrations. Information about sled dogs, sleds and the history of the sport will be provided as well as demonstration sledding runs. All the dogs are well trained, very friendly and enjoy being petted.

Additionally, children will have an opportunity for a dog sled ride. In the visitor center a variety of tasty traditional Native American foods as well as familiar foods and beverages will be available for purchase. Indoor entertainment includes listening to Native American stories, myths and legends, watching and/or trying Native American bead working techniques and early American wool spinning. Also visitors will able to buy unique gifts from skilled Native American crafters as well as from Sainte Marie's fully stocked Museum Store.

The museum and 17th century mission site will staffed by costumed Sainte Marie volunteers and open for self-guided tours. Admission is $5 per adult and $2 per child with a $15 family limit. Dog sled rides will be $1 per child. Ste. Marie is located in Liverpool at 6680 Onondaga Lake Parkway.

For more information, call 453-6712 or visit OnondagaCountyParks.com.

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