Organizers promise improved Thrill on the Hill

Published 9:11 am Thursday, January 23, 2014

More speed. More thrills.

That’s what one of the organizers of this year’s Thrill on the Hill in Buchanan is promising when the event kicks off this weekend.

“We’ve gotten all the mechanics worked out, so that is going to be the big thing this year,” said Randy Hendrickson, of the Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce. “We anticipate the hill is actually going to work the way it is supposed to.

“Even though people still had a blast and had fun (last year), you just didn’t make it all the way down the hill without a little bit of help.”

Hendrickson said they are going to install a larger ramp — pushing 12 to 15-feet tall — at the top of the Front Street hill.

“It is pretty intimidating when you get up there,” he said. “It has a really slippery surface on it that is designed to get your momentum going to launch you down the hill.”

Last year’s Thrill on the Hill drew nearly 2,000 people to downtown Buchanan. The city has a snow-making machine it uses to create a snow base on the Front Street hill. Water is then added to the base to make it a slick surface.

This is the third year for the event, which starts at 6 p.m. on Friday with tubing runs until 9 p.m. Then, from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., the Midnight Run will be taking place, giving adults a chance to get out and have fun sledding on their own. Finally, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, there will be more tubing available for the whole family.

One-day wristbands cost $3 each day and $5 for the Midnight Run. They will be sold at the registration tent.

Hendrickson said the owners of Hello Donuts bakery will be handing out free donuts to the first 100 people who purchase Saturday wristbands.

“That is exciting because they were just featured on some news stations,” he said.

The “Little Thrill” will be set up at the intersection of Redbud and Front Streets. Activities there will include the “Burrr Cave,” a tunnel system that kids can climb through, a smaller sledding hill, and many other activities. Costumed characters, including Frosty, Rudolph and Pete the Penguin, will be on hand to keep the crowd entertained.

Smoke Vision Care, of Buchanan, is once again offering a snowman-making contest. People can enter in a non-profit category to win $150 for their favorite non-profit organization. Those who enter the family category can win a prize basket “full of goodies.”

“It was very successful and very popular last year,” Hendrickson said.

Smoke Vision Care is also offering a station were people can build their own s’mores and cook them over an open fire.

Hendrickson said Buchanan businesses would be offering “thriller” specials throughout the weekend.

“Make sure you stop in to see what deals you can get,” he said.