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Binghamton Pond Festival Organizer Optimistic for This Weekend

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The organizer for the Binghamton Pond Festival, Tytus Haller says he's optimistic that the event will go on as planned this weekend after bad weather forced Friday's activities to be canceled.

"It's going to happen and I can absolutely say that my sole purpose for the last several weeks is to make sure this happens and this is successful," said Haller. "Just succeeding and making sure that the people that are coming here, people that are looking forward to this are able to enjoy themselves."

Haller and a small crew are working throughout the night to make sure that the currently flooded rink will be playable come Saturday morning.

"Just getting all of our equipment in good shape right now," said Haller. "The ambient air is actually supposed to drop below freezing within the next couple of hours and once that does, we'll fire everything right up and take advantage of what mother nature is giving us."

There are more than 500 special needs ice hockey players from eight teams across the country expected to take part in the festivities this weekend and despite not skating on Friday, they found other ways to have fun at the DoubleTree in the Downtown Binghamton.

"We're here for a hockey tournament," said Cold Damiani, American Special Hockey Association Volunteer. "I'm happy and excited."

This is the only special pond hockey festival in the country according to the American Special Hockey Association. The non-for-profit organization "enriches the quality of special hockey programs through training, education, and support."

"Binghamton is a wonderful area, it's incredibly inclusive, it's incredibly welcoming," said Jennifer O'Brien, American Special Hockey Association Executive Director. "I am so proud to not only be a Binghamtonian but to also have the American Special Hockey Association come and see what's so great about our area."

ASHA games are expected to run from 10:00 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. on Saturday and from 10:00 a.m. through 2:45 p.m. on Sunday.