FULTON — Antique and vintage snowmobiles will be on display Saturday, Feb. 8, during the 20th annual Great Eastern Whiteout at the Fulton War Memorial.
The show will take place from 8 a.m. until about 5 p.m. on Feb. 8. There will be displays and vendors outside of the Fulton War Memorial at 609 W. Broadway, and additional displays and vendors inside the building.
Several local businesses and organizations provide sponsorship for the event. Ken Wheelock, one of the organizers of the Whiteout, said he is grateful for their support, especially since all proceeds from the event go to local scholarships and charities.
Wheelock and Jim Latino, a member of the Fulton Area Snow Travelers, are organizing the Whiteout, which is taking place in Fulton for the 11th consecutive year.
Wheelock said the Whiteout annually gives a big boost to tourism in the Fulton area, filling local hotels and restaurants. He said people come from as far away as Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Ontario. About 300 sleds are expected along with thousands of visitors. It’s the biggest vintage snowmobile show in the Northeast.
“We’re hoping to draw in excess of 3,000 people this year,” Wheelock said.
There is an admission charge, but those 12 and younger get in free.
Show participants are invited to take part Sunday, Feb. 9, in the vintage trail ride to breakfast at the Lysander Fire Department. They meet at the War Memorial at 7:30 a.m.
“We caravan from the War Memorial over to the Granby Community Center. Everybody unloads there because it’s right on the trail. We go from there to the Lysander Fire Department, have breakfast, and return,” Wheelock said. “We’re hoping to get a little more snow for the ride on Sunday.”
At the Whiteout, there are typically dozens of vendors on hand with old sled parts for restoring the sleds, a graphic arts dealer from Pennsylvania who makes vintage signs, and others with related merchandise.
Registered snowmobiles will be judged in a number of categories. This year’s featured show sled is Moto-Ski, and people with those sleds will have them judged in the special featured sled category. Trophies are presented to the first five places in the featured sled category. The awards presentation is at 3 p.m. Feb. 8, and the show begins winding down after that.
Those wishing to register a sled for the judging competition can just go inside the War Memorial and sign in at the registration desk. There is a fee to register, but those who do get a plaque and a T-shirt with the sponsors listed on the back, Wheelock said.
Also at the Whiteout, the winning raffle ticket will be drawn for a 1970 Arctic Cat Puma, custom painted by the Par-K body shop.
All net proceeds from the Great Eastern Whiteout go toward the Spike Nolan and Everet Regal scholarships, along with local charities.
Nolan was a small-engine teacher at Oswego County BOCES who had some fast drag sleds that have been displayed at the Whiteout. The scholarship named for Nolan will go to a CiTi BOCES student.
Regal, of Phoenix, was an engineer and a snowmobile mechanic who worked on some sleds that won major championships. The scholarship named for Regal will go to a student at John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix.
Local charities listed to receive money from Whiteout proceeds include the United Way Greater Oswego County, CYO, Catholic Charities food pantry, Salvation Army food pantry, Fulton Athletic Boosters, Fulton Kiwanis Club, SPCA, Fulton Area Snow Travelers, Pulaski Community Cupboard, Alzheimer’s Association, Fulton Youth Hockey, Friends of Fulton Parks, Pop Warner Football, and others, according to Wheelock.
See Great Eastern Whiteout on Facebook for more details.
So far, it has been a tough year for snowmobile enthusiasts because of the lack of snow. However, as far as the Whiteout is concerned, the mild weather has a bright side.
“When it’s like this we get more attendance because they can’t be out riding snowmobiles, so they come and see the old ones,” Wheelock said.