The SnowBall Music Festival rolls into town this weekend bringing with it an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people, more than 50 different artists and bands, and a party that is sure to be unforgettable.
Local businesses are certainly bracing for the crowds.
Plaza Liquor in Winter Park is stocking two to three times what they normally keep in the back to make sure they can continue to quench the thirst of all of the guests that will be calling this small town home for next three days. Restaurants are filling fridges and making late night menus for the SnowBallers, while hotels and supermarkets are hiring extra security to make sure everyone follows the rules during the weekend.
"We are preparing for something similar to three nights of New Year's Eve," said James Leveridge, general manager of Pinnacle Lodge. "We just want to limit the damage and move on."
One thing the festival is sure to bring to the county is traffic like many here have never seen. Expect heavy traffic and delays along U.S. Highway 40 throughout the weekend, with the heaviest flows starting around 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon on Sunday and continuing each night until around 6 p.m. This will be when the majority of festival-goers are anticipated to be filing into the event. Also immediately after the show, around 10 or 11 p.m., traffic and related delays are expected to peak.
A large amount of planning that has gone into traffic control during the festival and the main goal is to keep things moving, said Glen Trainor, Fraser-Winter Park chief of police and incident commander for the duration of the music festival.
Good to know
Some of the more important information for festival-goers to know before the show includes which bus route their hotel is located on so they can find their way home after the show. Lodging companies will be handing out bus route cards that bus patrons will need to determine how to return to their lodging.
Another important note to be made by festival attendees is there will be no re-entry into the festival past 7 p.m. Before 7 p.m., snowball attendees are free to come and go out of the venue, but after 7 p.m. they will not be allowed back in.
An app called FOMO Sonar will be available to be used by festival-goers to find restaurants, bars, retail locations, services, restaurant specials, and the like. SnowBallers will be able to follow "pings" to different establishments throughout Winter Park and Fraser to find drink and meal deals as well as activities and other available openings and deals.
Don't forget that daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 10, when clocks should "spring forward" an hour.