The Hippo


May 31, 2020








Sno-Buds takes kids on snowmobile rides at last year’s carnival. Courtesy photo.

Winter Carnival

Where: Wasserman Park, 116 Naticook Road, Merrimack
When: Saturday, Feb. 21, noon to 3 p.m.


Snow much fun
Merrimack hosts 23rd annual winter carnival

By Angie Sykeny

Get out and face the flurries during an afternoon of all things snow at Merrimack’s annual Winter Carnival, featuring free activities like snowshoeing, snowmobile rides, cardboard sledding, snowman building and more.

The 23rd Annual Winter Carnival is hosted by the Merrimack Parks and Recreation Department and will take place at Wasserman Park, Saturday, Feb. 21, from noon to 3 p.m. 
“This is a great community event with lots of activities that will appeal to a wide variety of ages,” said Matt Casparius, director of Parks and Recreation and coordinator of the event. “In the winter, people tend to be less physically active, and this event provides a venue for people to get outdoors and try new things without having to spend a lot of money.”
Eastern Mountain Sports of Nashua will be bringing a load of snowshoes for attendees to go snowshoeing around the park, or go for a cruise with the Merrimack Sno-Buds, a local snowmobile club that will provide free snowmobile rides. It’s become a carnival classic and is always very popular with the kids.
“Working with kids gives us so much joy,” said Newton Coryell, treasurer of Sno-Buds. “There is nothing like the smile on a kid’s face when they get their first ride on a snowmobile. Many of them take multiple rides as they have so much fun. And so do we.”
If you want to give ice fishing a whirl, head to Naticook Lake for the Merrimack Lions Club’s annual ice fishing derby. 
Also participating in the carnival this year are the Girl Scouts. Merrimack Girl Scout Troop 10623 will host a snowman building competition with prizes awarded for best snowman. If you have any unused winter clothes lying around, Girl Scout Daisy Troop 13912 will be holding a winter clothing drive to help those in need.
The kids’ cardboard sledding contest will make its debut this year. Participants will create sleds entirely from cardboard, duct tape, glue, paper and paint. Kids will compete in a 5-to-12 or 13+ age group, and prizes will be awarded for “Fastest Sled,” “Best Use of Cardboard,” and “Most Creative Design.”
“I am excited to see how the [contest] will go and what kinds of designs we will see,” said Casparius. “Years ago, the [Merrimack] library used to do a cardboard boat race on the lake, so this a take-off of that event. I have seen some interesting designs created and am looking forward to see what will be created here.”
Pre-registration and a signed waiver are required for this event, and participants can fill out the forms beforehand on the Merrimack Parks and Recreation website. Pre-judging and rule explanations will be held at 1 p.m. and the race will start at 1:30 p.m.
If you’re looking to thaw out after all the snowy activities, stop by the outdoor campfire and make some s’mores. You can also head over to the Function Hall where local nonprofits will be selling a variety of snacks.
Other events to check out are a horse care demonstration from Walnut Hollow Farm, a demonstration from the Independent Karate School, model aircraft flying with the Southern New Hampshire Flying Eagles and guided nature walks with the Nature Walks Conservation Society.
“I feel this event helps to bring the community together,” said Casparius. “A lot of groups from the community are involved. [The event] creates an opportunity for them to come out during the winter months and be active and participate in recreational activities.” 
Casparius said the rec department also wants to raise awareness of Wasserman Park, which he calls a 44-acre “hidden gem.” The department has started working on several new improvements for the park, which will increase its accessibility and bring its facilities up to date.
Casparius said more than 700 people attended the carnival last year, and he hopes to have more this year.
“With all the snow that we have recently gotten, this year looks to be a fantastic event and we hope everyone comes out and checks it out,” he said. 
As seen in the February 19, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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