News of Otsego County

holiday season

By Day, She Toils At SUNY; By Night, She’s Ice Royalty

By Day, She Toils At SUNY;

By Night, She’s Ice Royalty

Snow Sisters Stephanie Ward, left, and Bethany Marx greet visitors at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville. (Ian Austin/

By day, Bethany Marx teaches costume design at SUNY Oneonta’s Theater Department.

But with a sprinkle of fairy dust – and a lot of glitter and sequins – she becomes the Hill City Ice Queen, Otsego County’s very own princess.

“When I moved here in August 2015, someone put me in touch with Carol Mandigo, and I wore my Elsa costume to Balloon Fest,” she said. “Now I’ve got seven employees, and we do 14 different characters.”

Marx first got started on a whim, after she helped a friend make an Anna costume for Halloween in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she was living.

“I got a random phone call from this trick-or-treat event that had advertised as having ‘Frozen’ characters – except their Olaf costume wouldn’t arrive in time. They asked if I could be Elsa so their advertising would still be right.”

After meeting more than 200 kids in an hour, she got a phone call from parents who asked if she could repeat the performance at a birthday party.

“I learned some songs and did a craft project with the kids, and when I left, the dad told me, ‘You should be charging more,’” she said. “I called my friend and said, ‘We could do this.’”

She did parties around Fairbanks for nearly a year before moving to Oneonta, where she founded Hill City Ice Queen Princess Parties, which includes “Princess Beauty,” “Arabian Princess,” “The Snow Sisters,” The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Cinderella and other fairy tale characters.

Word got around quickly, and now she’s a frequent fixture at First Night, Winter Carnival and other local events, as well as plenty of parties.

“I did one as Princess Beauty, where I hung out with this little girl, and she sat in my lap and showed me all her toys and we sang together,” she said. “Her dad was home, and at one point, he went upstairs and didn’t come back down.”

She finished her visit, and when she got home, she had an email from the mom, explaining that there had been a sudden death in the family the night before. “She told me she shared all the pictures of us with her family, and that they made everybody smile on a day when no one felt like smiling.”

Marx makes all the costumes, including masks that match their characters outfits, and, when the occasion calls for it, clever layering.

“Last year at the Christmas Tree Lighting, it was 17 degrees,” she said. “I’ve got the leggings that I wear for Elsa, but there’s usually one or two pairs of leggings underneath that!”

At a Princess Party, the princesses will sing, sign autographs and pose for pictures, and do a craft with the guests.

“I want my princesses to have a performance background, especially improv,” she said. “You get asked a lot of questions, so you have to really know the character, the lines they say in the movie, the foods they like.”

And some babysitting doesn’t hurt either. “Half the job is controlling a party of small kids,” she said. “If you can’t do that, it doesn’t matter how pretty your singing voice is.”

But the princesses do more than meet-and-greets.

Some, like the Scottish princess, do sword-fighting shows, and for the past two years, her girls have offered “Princess Caroling” in the Albany area, where many of the girls live.

Mr. & Mrs. Claus Arrive In Renovated Pioneer Park

Mr. & Mrs. Claus Arrive

In Renovated Pioneer Park

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, right, and the rest of the holiday crowd look in anticipation towards the Christmas tree which Santa lit with a wave of his hand this evening in Cooperstown. Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrived via horse drawn carriage at their second home in a newly renovated Pioneer Park after being led in by the Cooperstown Fire Department, The Hill City Snow Queen, members of the Cooperstown Equestrian team and the High school band. Their cottage now sits on a small raised area while small pathways built into the bricks helps with the flow of visitors. After greeting the crowd the Claus’ settled in and began hearing the Christmas wishes of the first children of the season.(Ian Austin/

Catskills Christmas Concert

This Afternoon At U-U Society


We still have 6 families in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program in need of a benefactor this holiday season. CLICK HERE to learn how you can help them.

CONCERT – 3 p.m. “Christmas in the Catskills: Songs of the Season” the winter concert of the Catskill Chamber Singers. Unitarian Universalist Church, 12 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Info, Emma Kirsch (607)433-0999, or visit

YULETIDE CELEBRATION – 1-4 p.m. Hunt for the Yule log and then settle in for an afternoon of arts and crafts for the whole family. SUNY Oneonta College Camp, off upper East St.,Oneonta. one mile from intersection of Bugbee Rd. and East St., Oneonta. Info, 436-3455

WASSAIL WEEKEND – 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Demonstration on how to make Wassail, the traditional holiday drink. Savory spices blended with sweet cider at The Fly Creek Cider Mill, 288 Goose St., Fly Creek. Info, 1-800-505-6455,


Run Of The Ugly Sweaters

At 3 p.m. In Cooperstown


To Learn How You Can Help Area Families This Holiday Season CLICK HERE.

UGLY SWEATER RUN – There’s still time to take in the Ugly Sweater Run:  It departs at 3 p.m. from Pioneer Park in downtown Cooperstown.  (The listing incorrectly reported 1:30 p.m.)  Info,

CONCERT – 7 p.m. Juice Newton performs her greatest hits. Foothills Performing Arts Center, 24 Market St. Oneonta. Info,  List to “Angel in the Morning.”

HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIR – 9 a.m.-4 p.m. featuring quality, handmade crafts by local and regional crafters. Free admission. Hunt Union Ballroom, SUNY Oneonta, 108 Ravine pkwy, Oneonta.

PTA HOLIDAY BREAKFAST/MARKET – 8 a.m.-Noon Cooperstown Elementary School,  21 Walnut St, Cooperstown. Info,


With Santa, Decorate

Downtown Cooperstown


To Learn How You Can Help Area Families This Holiday Season CLICK HERE.

SANTA’S COTTAGE –2 p.m. Decorating Party. Help Cooperstown Committee decorate Santa’s cottage and the village lampposts for the holidays. All decorations provided; please bring wirecutters, gloves, and ladders, if available. Meet in Pioneer Park. Free photo of your family in front of Santa’s Cottage as a thank you. To reserve a pole, email Meg Kiernan, Meet in Pioneer Park, Cooperstown.

FILM SERIES –2 p.m. “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (1952). Fenimore Auditorium, 5798 NY-80, Cooperstown

CELEBRATE NATIVE AMERICAN MONTH – 1 p.m. Roger Longtoe Sheehan, Chief of the El Nu Abenaki tribe of Vermont, will tell traditional tales and display tools and crafts of Northeastern woodland cultures. Program is free and open to the public. Suny Oneonta College Camp Lodge, 119 Hoffman Rd., Oneonta. For more info call 436-3455 or CLICK HERE.

PROGRAM – 3 p.m. “The Very Greatest Victory: Recognizing Women’s Right to Vote in NY State” with Dr. Susan Goodler. Friends of the Village Library Lecture Series. Village Meeting room, Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Info @ Sunday Programs page

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103