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WITH OR WITHOUT SNOW, WINTER FESTIVAL PROCEEDS

For the third consecutive year, Syracuse's Winterfest is starting with weather conditions more suitable to October than January, but once again organizers say they are ready for the lack of snow.

"Back in June, when we started planning, we had every intention of making sure the Winterfest could go on, with or without snow," said Steve Chirello, chairman of the festival.

Syracuse Mayor Thomas Young officially started the festival's 10-day run Friday as temperatures flirted with the freezing mark.

If snow comes, Chirello said, festival organizers are prepared to quickly initiate cross-country skiing, automobile ice racing, snowshoeing, snowman-building and other activities.

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