Residents turn out to support Friends of Portsmouth Winterfest

By Tom Corrigan -

Talking with the Portsmouth Daily Times prior to a Friends of Portsmouth volunteer meeting held Tuesday evening at the Scioto County Welcome Center, Friends of Portsmouth’s Maddie Burnside said she was almost worried a meeting for volunteers for the upcoming Toyota Winterfest on Market Square might attract more people than needed.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Burnside said prior to Tuesday’s session.

On Wednesday, Burnside said about 70 people showed up for the meeting. And enough of that number agreed to help with the event, further volunteers most likely are not needed, Burnside added.

“We’ve got some good volunteers lined up,” Burnside continued, adding numerous people paid a $25 fee to become new members of the nonprofit Friends of Portsmouth group.

As most probably know by now, Winterfest will run throughout the month of December and is to include numerous holiday activities, from an ice-skating rink to a nativity scene with live animals and opportunities to visit Santa Claus, among many other festive happenings.

As previously advertised, the biggest event may be an attempt to break the world’s record for the most people simultaneously caroling. Burnside said helping to break the caroling record is where those who still want to volunteer can be of help. The current record sits at 1,822, set by a town in suburban Milwaukee, Wisc. In the past, Friends of Portsmouth organizer and local developer Tim Wolfe said he hopes to bring out at least 2,000 people to snow under Wisconsin’s record.

Burnside said the time and date of the attempt has been set as 7 p.m. Dec. 15. Organizers have not yet chosen what song carolers will croon, Burnside said. She did talk about entertainment for the evening to include well-known Jerry Lewis impersonator and West High School graduate Jacob Tolliver. Local doctor Mike Raies also will perform along with the Portsmouth West choir.

Besides volunteering to be part of the world record attempt, Burnside talked about how the community can support the event by simply visiting , perhaps bringing in friends and family from outside of Portsmouth or writing about the event on social media.

In a previous interview with the Daily Times, Wolfe talked a lot about plans to decorate Boneyfiddle with the help of civic groups and churches.

“We’re going to decorate every block of Second Street,” Wolfe said. At least five or six churches likely will be involved with the effort. Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis and the White Gravel Mines in Minford will take over Market Street decorations.

For more information on Winterfest, visit the Friends of Portsmouth Facebook page.

By Tom Corrigan