By John McCallum

Mid-winter ‘Super’ alternative

Downtown businesses team for run at holding Cheney Winterfest


Area residents getting ready for Sunday’s Super Bowl have a new option for putting some color into their winter gray.

Owl Pharmacy and The Mason Jar have teamed up in holding what’s hoped will be a first annual Winterfest this Saturday, Feb. 2. The event takes place from 5-10 p.m. in Owl’s east parking lot as well as on a closed off F Street between the pharmacy and The Mason Jar, and will feature a variety of carnival-style activities and entertainment designed to help bring downtown Cheney alive.

“We’re just trying to keep this feeling of downtown resurgence going,” Owl pharmacy tech and event coordinator Jason Williams said.

In it’s inaugural run, Winterfest’s theme will pay homage to two events taking place this weekend – the Super Bowl in New Orleans between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens and Groundhog Day, the annual appearance of that great winter prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil. There will be games such as SuperBowling where contestants need to knock down 20 bowling pins, Finger Flicker Field Goal played with a triangular shaped paper football – yes the one many played as bored elementary, middle or high school students.

There will be Prognostication Punting with participants trying to kick a stuffed groundhog into an apple barrel, along with human sled dog racing and much more. Williams said they are also thinking of doing what he calls an “art bomb” wherein the snow pile in the pharmacy parking lot’s southeast corner becomes a canvass of sort for people throwing water balloons filled with food-color altered water.

“Whatever color we get, we get,” Williams said. “In the end we’ll get some Jackson Pollack snow mound.”

A stage will be set up next to The Mason Jar where a variety of musical performances will take place, including Eastern’s jazz band. There will be a poetry-slam and live visual artists creating a roaming art show, which Williams hopes to be able to display at area businesses over the weeks following Winterfest.

A number of businesses have donated prize baskets of all kinds, and Cheney’s Holiday Inn Express has arranged to sponsor a pub-style business crawl with participants eligible for a night’s stay at the hotel. Treats such as cotton candy, popcorn, warm peanuts, cider and hot chocolate along with pretzels and beer in a beer garden will be available. And while a food vendor he had lined up backed out at the last moment due to other commitments, Williams said he was working with downtown eateries to hopefully arrange food specials for Winterfest goers.

Most of the events will take place outside, and Williams said they are planning to string up enough lights to make the area festive while providing an event tent and propane patio heaters to help keep patrons warm. All proceeds from Winterfest will go towards helping Cheney Outreach.

“We’re going to try to get as much as we can for the Cheney Outreach,” Williams said. “That’s why it’s great that all these businesses have donated things for the baskets.”

While Williams said the main force behind Winterfest is Owl and The Mason Jar, he noted that other businesses such as Zentropa Pizzeria and business owners Steve Emtman and Natasha Jernegan have helped out as well. Williams knows there will be some kinks in the first time out for Winterfest, but hopes enough people will stop by for some fun and to make it successful enough so that it will become an annual event – and possibly more.

“We’d like to do an event like this in this location every season,” he said.

John McCallum can be reached at


Reader Comments