Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The return of Winterfest brings cocktail competitions, wing tastings and booming business to CNY

Salt City Market for Winterfest Story. 2/21/22. (Photo by Max Mimaroglu)
Maxwell Mimaroglu
Salt City Market for Winterfest Story. 2/21/22. (Photo by Max Mimaroglu)

After a year hiatus, Winterfest is back and the countywide festival's return is drawing locals and tourists alike, proving to be a welcome boost to local establishments. The 11-day celebration includes events held across the region, including a treasure hunt and ice carving, and culinary celebrations, such as cook-offs and cocktail competitions.

Winterfest President Bill Cooper said this year's festivities are attracting visitors from neighboring states and even north of the border.

“We had people from New Jersey, Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, Canada, Rome, Buffalo—all over the area.“

At Salt City Bar in downtown Syracuse, barista Ethan Tyo said they sold around 800 tickets for the sangria mix-off.

“Even though little snow storm kind of deterred a few people, they came right in it and it was actually pretty busy even before the event. So it was great to see a lively shop, it was great to see a bunch of people, new faces in.”

The bar's concoction took first place.

“It really was a nice experience to be able to showcase that and to really tell people that we’re a premiere bar in the area."

Restaurants are already seeing increased turnout ahead of this weekend's Wing Walk: a battle for the best wings that will have patrons sampling the staple at more than half a dozen Armory Square eateries.

Marie Paoff, manager at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, which is competing in the event, said Winterfest is bringing new customers in to the popular spot.

“We got a lot of different people go walking throughout downtown, and a lot of different people that have never been here, so it’s a nice addition for that.”

Paoff said the restaurant will be showing off its new Hello Buffalo sauce for Winterfest's closing event Sunday, but additional happenings are scheduled all week.