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Dutchess County Welcomes Special Olympics Winter Games

Fans in the Stands are still needed for the 2016 New York Special Olympics State Games.
Fans in the Stands are still needed for the 2016 New York Special Olympics State Games. Photo Credit: 2016 Special Olympics State Winter Games

DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Hudson Valley region will host the 2016 Special Olympics State Winter Games for the first time ever Feb. 19 to 21 at multiple venues in Dutchess County.

The Opening Ceremonies will be Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, 14 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie.

There will be a ceremonial parade of athletes, motivational speeches, entertainment, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run. The event will culminate in the lighting of the Special Olympics Cauldron.

The Civic Center also hosts Closing Ceremonies and a Victory Dance Saturday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

The Saturday, Feb. 20 events and venues include:

  • Alpine Skiing: Holiday Mountain Ski Area, 99 Holiday Mountain Road, Monticello
  • Figure Skating & Speed Skating: Beginning at 10 a.m., McCann Ice Arena, 14 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie
  • Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing: Beginning at 9 a.m., Bowdoin Park, 85 Sheafe Road, Poughkeepsie
  • Floor Hockey: Stewart Air National Guard Base, 1 Maguire Way, Newburgh
To wrap up the weekend, Special Olympics New York hosts the Fishkill Polar Plunge at Sharpe Environmental Center on Sunday, Feb. 21. Participants can support the athletes by taking a dip in the chilly waters.

Registration is open at www.PolarplungeNY.org . Donors are asked to raise $100 to receive an official Polar Plunge sweatshirt.

These special events are the largest fundraising initiative for Special Olympics New York, raising almost $1.5 million in 2015, including over $135,000 in Fishkill.

Special Olympics New York is still in search of social volunteers to be Fans in the Stands for the weekend.

Athletes come to the State Winter Games from all over New York State, and many families cannot make the trip.

Volunteers are needed to attend the competitions, watch and cheer for these champions.

Click here for more information and to volunteer.

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