Despite lack of snow, Merrimack Winter Carnival a hit with young and old alike
MERRIMACK – Although the only snow seen on Saturday came in the form of snow cones, that didn’t stop Merrimack Parks and Recreation Department from putting on its 26th annual Winter Carnival at Wasserman Park.
The hill that would normally offer sledding for children was instead utilized for tumbling, as the kids rolled from top to bottom enjoying the nice weather. Aside from playing in the grass or climbing the jungle gym, 23 different community groups offered various activities for community members to engage with, from roasting marshmallows for s’mores to an ice carving demonstration. All the different crafts and activities were free of charge, except for food and raffles.
“It gets people out of the house during the winter, doing activities and having fun,” said Matt Casparius, parks and recreation director.
He said concessions were mostly handled by Merrimack Friends & Families. They raise money, and a portion of the funds are then given back to fund camp scholarships for children. Casparius said last year, they were able to get four camp scholarships out of the money given back to them from food sales.
He also said the dog park hosted a raffle that raised money to add new things to the dog park.
Casparius said this was his fifth year working the carnival, and that his first two years offered just winter activities, whereas this year, despite the lack of snow, offered both outdoor and indoor activities.
“We planned ahead this year, assuming there may be no snow, but we have ice carvers still,” Casparius said.
Folks from Ice Breakers in Manchester drew quite a crowd of onlookers as they gave a demonstration, carving a Lego Batman out of a block of ice.
“It’s just an event people are accustomed to coming to,” Casparius said, adding that, “We probably got around 300 to 400 people.”
That’s true for Anitha Kaliyaperumal, who attended the carnival with her family, and many times in past years.
“It’s really good, and people have fun here. We look forward to it every year,” Kaliyaperumal said.
Returning for another year was Philip DeFeo, who came out from Salem with the family for an afternoon of fun.
“You’d think the target is locals, but because of Facebook, they attract people from a larger radius,” DeFeo said.
He said the event has great energy and is very family friendly with kids being able to get out and run around without having to put on snow gear, at least at this year’s carnival.
“I hope it grows in popularity. It’s a great event for kids to get them off the iPad for a few hours. It’s healthy,” DeFeo said.
Casparius said the Merrimack Parks and Recreation Department website always is adding new things, and recommends people check them out online for new and future events. A listing can be found at http://www.merrimackparksandrec.org.
Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.