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Ottawa Hills High School hosting first-ever 'Winterfest'

New traditions are replacing the old at Ottawa Hills High School, as students won't be able to hold their annual snowball dance inside due to the ongoing pandemic.

OTTAWA HILLS, Ohio — Homecoming and prom are what high school students look forward to, but with COVID-19, dances can't go on like normal. 

Students at Ottawa Hills High School have found a way to take their traditions outdoors.

Old traditions are turning new at Ottawa Hills High School, as the coronavirus pandemic is preventing them from hosting their annual snowball dance indoors.

"We usually have an indoor dance we call 'snowball,' but this year we thought we'd get a little bit more creative. We wanted to do something. Getting students together outside of class has its challenges during COVID-19," Ottawa Hills High School Principal Ben McMurray said.

Instead, students are holding their first-ever "Winterfest" as a way to celebrate, while following local COVID-19 guidelines.

Student body president, Sophia Stone, said it's been different planning a brand new event for the school, but she's enjoying it.

"We'd follow the same routine for a very long time of planning dances. You contact this person, and it's a systematic process. Now, we're having to think outside of the box," Stone said.

She said Winterfest will have food trucks, a DJ, a bonfire for s'mores and more. Although, the main event will be the man-made ice rink from one of the students' fathers.

"Usually we do this at home every winter. My dad was like, 'Let's do something fun,' and we usually get the community involved, but of course, not this year because of COVID. But usually, my dad builds an ice rink and we all just have fun on it," high school student, Gigi Suhy said.

Both Suhy and Stone said the new tradition has gained a lot of support from their friends and classmates.

Winterfest will be held on Jan. 30 and students who have not purchased their ticket yet can get them during their lunch hour.