Attendees line up ahead of the start of Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Attendees line up ahead of the start of Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Frozen RiverFest sees ‘perfect’ weather, strong turnout

Hundreds turned out at Soldotna Creek Park on Saturday for the 8th Annual Frozen RiverFest, put on by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.

In lightly falling snow, much of the crowd gathered in front of the park’s stage, where The Ridgeway Rounders and the Derek Poppin Band performed throughout the four hours of the festival, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Adjacent to the stage, 18 brewers were arrayed, each offering a variety of their beers, wines and ciders.

Attendees were given drink chips to exchange with the brewers for a sample of their brews. The brewer with the most chips at the end of the night was awarded “People’s Choice 2023.”

The honor went to Naptowne Brewing Company, located in Sterling. As Naptowne representatives stepped onstage to claim their award, event hosts noted that the business isn’t even open yet, with that opening targeted for next month.

On Facebook, Naptowne noted that Frozen RiverFest was the first community event for the brewery, and said that the brewery was “incredibly honored and humbled” by the accolade.

Ahead of the event, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Maddy McElrea said that though brews were a major focus of the event, she was hoping to see families out. Children could indeed be seen throughout the festivities, wrapped up in snow gear, building snowmen and being towed around in sleds by their parents.

Around halfway through the event, McElrea said she was feeling good about the number of people who had turned out — hoping to meet or exceed the attendance from 2022.

That morning, snow had been falling heavily in Soldotna, but by the start of Frozen RiverFest, it had largely subsided.

“I really couldn’t ask for better,” McElrea said of the conditions. “It’s not too cold, not too warm — so, it’s perfect.”

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

The Ridgeway Rounders perform during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2023, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Ridgeway Rounders perform during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2023, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Attendees sip drinks and sit by the fire during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Attendees sip drinks and sit by the fire during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

An attendee gets a drink from HooDoo Brewing Company during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

An attendee gets a drink from HooDoo Brewing Company during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Snow falls as attendees of Frozen RiverFest gather around the stage and listen to The Ridgeway Rounders on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Snow falls as attendees of Frozen RiverFest gather around the stage and listen to The Ridgeway Rounders on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Ridgeway Rounders perform during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2023, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Ridgeway Rounders perform during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2023, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

An attendee gets a drink from HooDoo Brewing Company during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

An attendee gets a drink from HooDoo Brewing Company during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Fireworks explode over a audience of hundreds as the Derek Poppin Band performs onstage during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Fireworks explode over a audience of hundreds as the Derek Poppin Band performs onstage during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Children build snowmen during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Fireworks explode over a audience of hundreds as the Derek Poppin Band performs onstage during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Derek Poppin Band perform during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Derek Poppin Band perform during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Derek Poppin Band perform during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Derek Poppin Band perform during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Derek Poppin Band perform during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2023, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Derek Poppin Band perform during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2023, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Attendees gather around fires or the stage during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Attendees gather around fires or the stage during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Fireworks explode over a audience of hundreds as the Derek Poppin Band performs onstage during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Fireworks explode over a audience of hundreds as the Derek Poppin Band performs onstage during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Fireworks explode over a audience of hundreds as the Derek Poppin Band performs onstage during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion) Fireworks explode over a audience of hundreds as the Derek Poppin Band performs onstage during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Naptowne Brewing Company is awarded the 2023 People’s Choice Award during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Naptowne Brewing Company is awarded the 2023 People’s Choice Award during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion 
The Ridgeway Rounders perform during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion The Ridgeway Rounders perform during Frozen RiverFest on Saturday at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna.

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