POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. --- Dutchess County officials, Special Olympics representatives and athletes are pulling out all the stops for the return of the Special Olympics Winter Games.
"We're asking everyone to wear their pajamas inside out," said Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Frank Castella Jr.
"Last year we didn't have snow, so we're unleashing every superstition we know to have snow in February 2017,” said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.
The Hudson Valley will host the games for the second straight year. Last year, though, athletes had to travel to Sullivan County for some events because nature didn't cooperate.
"We went all the way up to Holiday Mountain one day where they did make snow," said athlete Uriah Riggs.
Athletes are scheduled to participate in activities like alpine skiing, figure and speed skating and floor hockey. Special Olympics officials said the Hudson Valley region broke records for volunteer recruitment, fan attendance and sponsorships.
“We asked them to donate funds in order to pay for hotel rooms; we had to hire buses to transport them to and from the games; we had to feed them while they were here; so you can imagine that impact goes quite a long way when you’re talking about money and dollars spend here in our community," Castella said.
Michael Polasek provided more than 900 gourmet lunches for the athletes last year and says he was honored to assist with the games.
"Really allowed myself as an individual and a business to further think about the inclusiveness of everyone in our community and that everyone should have an opportunity, and so the fact that the Special Olympics are coming to our community, it shows how much myself and other businesses and community members can stand behind it," said Valley Hospitality Group President Michael Polasek.
The opening ceremony for the winter games will be held in February at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center.