A Saturday morning 5-K race through the streets of the village is among the highlights of this year's Alden WinterFest next Friday and Saturday.
Last year's inaugural WinterFest proved popular with residents, and organizers this year are expecting bigger crowds with the addition of new events such as the race.
"It was wonderful," Beth Downing, village administrator and WinterFest coordinator, said of last year's event. "We expect it to be bigger this year. We want to keep it fresh every year."
The Black Water Baths 5-K begins at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 11 in front of Alden High School on Park Street. Runners can preregister by calling Village Hall or near the starting line at 8 a.m. the day of the race.
Despite the relatively mild winter, organizers feel they are prepared for any kind of weather during the weekend.
"Almost everything is free," said Nancy Hughes, Alden economic development director. "If there's no snow, we have plenty of indoor events. If there's cold and snow, we have plenty of outdoor events. There's terrific cooperation throughout the community."
WinterFest officially kicks off at 7 p.m. next Friday with ice skating, bonfires and cross-country skiing by moonlight in Alden Town Park. Other events planned next Friday include a performance by musician Glenn Colton in Alden Intermediate School, a battle of the bands competition in Billiebob's Family Billiards and an art show in Beacon Cafe.
Several outdoor events are planned for Feb. 11, including snow softball, sled races, snowshoeing, snowmobile rides and more ice skating and cross-country skiing.
For people looking to escape the cold weather, the Village Hall will host a craft show and flea market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, while a Euchre tournament in the Alden Community Center begins at 2 p.m. There will also be a children's play area at Alden High School all day.
Several of the events, tournaments and contests require preregistration, which is available in Village Hall.
A pancake breakfast will be held in Alden Presbyterian Church at 8 a.m. Feb. 11. Alden Automotive will host a chili contest at 1 p.m. Saturday, while a wine and chocolate tasting begins at 7 in Village Hall.
WinterFest closes with a special dance in Village Hall beginning at 7 p.m., with music by the Alden High School Jazz Ensemble and Night Shift.