A first-of-its-kind event is headed for York County in early March.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) will bring its new Indoor Winter Games to the area for the first time on Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and March 3.
More than 650 athletes are expected to compete. Hundreds of coaches, family members and friends are also expected.
The Indoor Winter Games committee is seeking volunteers to assist with athlete arrival, registration, bowling lane monitoring, athlete escorting, meal preparation, awards presentations, special events and more. Details about the volunteer registration process can be found on the SOPA website.
The Indoor Winter Games will be presented by the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau and will feature four events that previously had been held on a standalone basis or as part of Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s annual winter or summer games: floor hockey will take place at the York Expo Center, figure skating and speed skating will be held at the York City Ice Arena and bowling will be held at Laser Alleys and Colony Park Lanes North.
Before the start of the inaugural Indoor Winter Games, SOPA will also play host to a young athletes exhibition from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. at the York Expo Center. This exhibition will feature sports activities for bowling and floor hockey, as well as arts and crafts. Afterward, participants and their families will have the chance to participate in optional afternoon activities until 3 p.m. This event is not exclusive to current young athletes participants. Children of all abilities ages 2-7 within the greater York area are invited. Young athletes and their families can learn more and register online.
The opening ceremonies, beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, will be emceed by FOX43 reporter Lynda Weed and a Special Olympics athlete at the York Expo Center. The ceremonies will feature live entertainment, including a performance by the York College Best Buddies, the arrival of the “Flame of Hope” and the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron to officially open the Games.
In addition, the weekend will offer Healthy Athletes® screenings, Healthy Habits interactive activities and an “Olympic Village” providing athlete activities in between sporting events.
Following the opening ceremonies, competitions will begin at noon Saturday. The first day of the event will wrap up with a dance and movie night for the athletes. Competition will resume at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, with the awards ceremonies starting at 1 p.m.
York County will also host the Indoor Winter Games in 2020 and 2021, with the possibility of extending the relationship further into the future. The YCCVB estimates the games will generate nearly $500,000 in economic benefits to the county.
Indoor Winter Games major event sponsors include the YCCVB as the presenting sponsor. Other sponsors are Lee Fence and Outdoor, Pasch Companies, FOX 43, York Ice Arena, LegUp Farm and WellSpan Health, which is also the official medical provider of the Indoor Winter Games.