DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- Special Olympian hopefuls received a warm welcome on a chilly day from Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro excited to have the 2016 State Winter Games being held for the first time in Dutchess, Orange and Sullivan counties Feb.19-21.
The county executive welcomed athletes and Special Olympics New York President and CEO Neal J. Johnson to Bowdoin Park, Poughkeepsie, one of the game venues.
The Games Organizing Committee is working to ensure the various aspects of the event -- like securing local community support and sponsorship -- comes together and provides a unique Hudson Valley feel to the games.
The event is still in search of social volunteers to be Fans in the Stands for the weekend. Click here for more information .
The games kick off on Friday, Feb. 19 with opening ceremonies, a parade of athletes, motivational speeches, local entertainment, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie.
The center will also host closing ceremonies and a victory dance at various event venues, including,
- Alpine Skiing, Holiday Mountain Ski Area, 99 Holiday Mountain Road, Monticello
- Figure Skating, McCann Ice Arena, 14 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie
- Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing, Bowdoin Park, 85 Sheafe Road, Poughkeepsie
- Floor Hockey, Stewart Air National Guard Base, 1 Maguire Way, Newburgh
The weekend ends when Special Olympics New York hosts the Fishkill Polar Plunge at Sharpe Reservation on Sunday, Feb. 21. Click here for more information.
Athletes and their families attend the State Winter Games at no cost due to the donations of local hotels, competition venues and other partners.
Sponsors as of press time include,
- Westchester Medical Center Health Network
- Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation
- Turk Hospitality Group
- Poughkeepsie Galleria
- Stenger Roberts
- Davis & Diamond
- Dutchess ARC
- Abilities First, Inc.
- Anderson Center for Autism
- Marshall & Sterling Insurance
- Adams Fairacre Farms
- Arnoff Moving & Storage
- Dutchess County Government
- Greystone Programs
- Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Dutchess Tourism, Inc.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.