This year’s Winterfest celebration was a great time for everyone, and it always is exciting to see the village streets swarming with enthusiastic people. The attendance was heavy this year, the lines for many of the Taste of Skaneateles vendors and restaurants often were long, and the crowd in Clift Park and on the public pier was large as we all were eager to watch people braver (or crazier) than we were trundle, run and crash into the cold lake waters.
But Winterfest is about community and charity as much as it is about fun, and the fact that so many people came out to participate in what was ultimately a fundraiser is inspiring. The Skaneateles Sunrise Rotary Club now has more funds to pursue its service projects and charitable causes, and, through the auspices of the Polar Bear Plunge, the Skaneateles Education Foundation, the Skaneateles Ambulance Volunteer Emergency Services and the Skaneateles Fire Department also will realize substantial funds for their future needs and projects.
We at the Skaneateles Press want too stand up and thank everyone involved in Winterfest this year: Rotary members, the Polar Bear Club, all the lake Plungers, the emergency personnel on duty, and all the people who came out to contribute to the day’s events.
We also want to make sure we all remember to thank the often overlooked participants: all the people who volunteered to work the ticket tables, to stand in the cold and raise money for worthy causes and to somehow help the event be the success that it was.
As we recall and praise this spirit of community and charity, we also would like to point our readers’ attention to one of this week’s letters to the editor in which Skaneateles native Emily Devins — currently a student at Cornell University — is asking her hometown neighbors to help her help others. She has been accepted into a program by an international health organization to travel to Cape Town, South Africa, this summer and volunteer as a medical and public health assistant.
Emily must pay her travel expenses for this trip, and she is reaching out for donations. We encourage everyone to read Emily’s letter in this week's issue and consider donating to her cause to allow her to travel halfway around the world simply to help her fellow human beings.
We will speak with Emily this week about her studies, her goals and her desire to help people in Africa, and we hope to bring you a full story in our next issue.