Wally Ice Fest Canceled Due to Safety Concerns

LAKE WALLENPAUPACK, Pa. -- Nick Spinelli walked out onto Lake Wallenpaupack, ready to show Newswatch 16 the condition of the ice near Spinnlers Point.

"That's probably 8-9 inches," said Spinelli.

Spinelli is a volunteer with the Tafton Dive Team and is relieved the annual Wally Ice Fest set for this weekend has been canceled due to safety concerns.

"It's definitely the right decision to make. The ice has been deteriorating. It has been the last few days. It will continue to do so with warm weather and rain we're going to have," said Spinelli.

Last year, Wally Ice Fest brought out hockey teams from all around to play on the frozen lake, and usually businesses along the lake benefit. But a festival that banks on enough ice is always up to the conditions.

"When it does work out is when it's so great for us, so it's worth it trying every year," said Sarah O'Fee, Settlers Hospitality Group.

Last year, it was cold enough to have Ice Fest on Lake Wallenpaupack. This year, Mother Nature has not cooperated.

Organizers canceled this weekend, and folks who planned to be here may be headed home sooner than they planned.

"It kind of takes away a little excitement for the whole weekend," said Kevin Parany of New Jersey.

Kevin Parany and his buddies from New Jersey were drilling through the ice to fish and expected good enough, cold enough weather for the weekend festival.

"It's disappointing because it was so freezing leading up to this that we knew we could come up here and be a part of it. Last week it was negative," said Parany.

Just last weekend, six people on snowmobiles and ATVs went into the lake in a large open section of water that's still not frozen over, and that had emergency responders concerned for the upcoming Ice Fest.

Restaurants around the lake still plan to be open, some with live music this weekend.

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