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Children’s activities herald Winter Carnival’s return

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MASSENA — The annual Winter Carnival returned Saturday with a children’s activity day at the Massena Community Center, complete with clowns, crafts and games.

Parents and children could participate free of charge, with events funded by local sponsors and staffed by volunteers.

“I did the horse ride, and got a balloon from the clown, and now I’m doing this,” said 9-year-old Kelea S. Simmonds, of Winthrop, as she made a stuffed snowman out of a sock and craft supplies.

Although Winter Carnival does not officially begin until the end of the month, early events started Jan. 12 with trivia night, and will continue with a “Family Feud” competition and snow sculpture festival next weekend.

“I got to ride the horsie,” said 2-year-old Sawyer C. Girard, excitedly disembarking from the horse-drawn wagons that offered rides throughout the day.

This is the fourth annual Massena Winter Carnival, and new events have been added every year. It originally was created to boost local businesses and provide entertainment to Massena residents over the often boring winter months.

“One of our main interests was to create something for the community to do in the middle of winter that is free for the public,” said Susan E. Stiles, president of the Massena Chamber of Commerce.

The festivities begin in earnest with the opening ceremonies at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 31. at the Chamber of Commerce office. There will be wine tasting for attendees, who also can expect a special surprise announcement, according to Chamber of Commerce Vice President Miriam S. Catapano.

“We’re very excited about this,” she said. “We’re hoping it’s something we can expand on for future carnivals.”

A parade and fireworks display will be held Feb. 1.

The largest events, such as this weekend’s Massena Cup Hockey Tournament and the sled dog races starting Feb. 2, draw competitors from out of state to participate, and hopefully spend money at area businesses.

“We bring in a lot people to the area from out of town,” Ms. Catapano said.

The free children’s activities will be held again Feb. 3 at Hawkins Point.

The complete list of Winter Carnival events is at www.massenachamber.com.

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