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Massena Winter Carnival events being finalized

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MASSENA - It’s been months in the making, and it all comes to fruition in January.

The 2014 Winter Carnival will kick off in mid-January and runs until nearly the end of the month, and Committee Chair and chamber Board President Miriam S. Catapano says things are falling into place nicely.

Even before the official kick-off, entries are being solicited for the new Winter Carnival Photo Contest, featuring scenic views within 90 miles of the Massena area.

Those will be accepted at the chamber office, 16 Church St., until Jan. 10, where they will be displayed, Ms. Catapano said. People can vote for their favorite photos from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the chamber will remain open until 8 p.m. on Jan. 20 so the public can also view and vote on the entries.

All judging and voting must be completed by 12 p.m. Jan. 23.

“The public is invited to see the photos. We’ll have items for sale and coffee,” Ms. Catapano said.

They’ll also have an opportunity to judge the photos, according to chamber Associate Director Penny Pullmain.

“There are three judges” who will pick the first-, second- and third-place winners in the adult and children categories, she said. “The public will pick the People’s Choice.”

Winners in the adult category will receive $100, $75 and $50. Winners in the children’s category will receive gift certificates from the St. Lawrence Centre mall for $100, $75 and $50.

Opening ceremonies for the Winter Carnival will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at the chamber. The event includes the unveiling of ice sculptures, music and food.

One sculpture was created for the 2013 Winter Carnival, and there will be several this year. Logos have already been sent to the sculptor.

“We’ll have seven (sculptures here) and four in the community. Some purchased them on their own and have them at their location,” Ms. Pullmain said,

“We’re inviting each of the sponsors who have sculptures here for the unveiling,” Ms. Catapano said.

The Massena Cup Hockey Tournament will hit the Massena Arena annex on Jan. 17 and 18. In case the games can’t be played outdoors, ice time has already been booked inside the Massena Arena.

Kids Day will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Massena Community Center. It includes crafts, magic show, games and, weather permitting, horse-drawn wagon rides. The Massena Lions Club will be on hand to offer youth vision screening, and the Masons will have their Child ID booth set up. The event is free to the public.

“Everything the chamber sponsors is free to the public,” Ms. Catapano said.

A Moonlight Ski and Snowshoe will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. that night at the Nature Center at Robert Moses State Park, and the Boys and Girls Club of Massena will also be holding a Trivia Night beginning at 7 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, Bower Street.

The Massena Rod and Gun Club will hold a spaghetti dinner from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Jan. 22, and Ms. Pullmain said there may also be a Family Skating Night from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Alcoa Field.

“We’re working on a Family Skating Night. We’re in the process of trying to get someone to do hot chocolate and coffee,” she said.

“That’s a new chamber event.”

Jan. 24 brings the annual Winter Carnival parade, which steps off at 7 p.m. from Water Street, as well as the Winter Carnival fireworks, which will begin lighting the winter sky at 8 p.m. from Bushnell Field.

“There’s still plenty of time to get in for the parade,” Ms. Pullmain said.

A snow sculpting competition is scheduled for Jan. 24-26 at the St. Lawrence Centre mall, and a number of events are on tap for Jan. 25, including a 5k Walk/Run at 8:30 a.m. at Whalen Park, geocaching with the Nature Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hawkins Point Visitors Center and a Winter Carnival Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hawkins Point Visitors Center.

The Massena Senior Citizens will also hold a 4:30 p.m. spaghetti dinner and a 6 p.m. dance, both at the Massena Community Center.

Ms. Catapano said they’re also looking at having some type of Winter Carnival dinner that day, which they’re calling a “Winter Carnival Chill Out.” That location has yet to be determined.

Kids Day returns from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Hawkins Point Visitors Center. Like the earlier event at the Massena Community Center, it will feature crafts, magic show, games and horse-drawn wagon rides.

The Nature Center will offer another round of geocaching that day, and closing ceremonies will be held at 3 p.m. They’ll include a couple of drawings.

“We’ll have a normal 50-50, plus one for two sets of snowshoes,” Ms. Catapano said.

The snowshoe sets include one male, one female and two youth. The snowshoe raffle - $2 per ticket or three for $5 - is valued at more than $400, and the winner will receive a gift certificate for Wear On Earth, Potsdam.

“It goes nice with the geocaching and snowshoeing,” Ms. Catapano said.

The title sponsor for the 2014 Winter Carnival is the Cultivating Healthy Communities Coalition. Felicia Neahr, community coalition coordinator for the St. Lawrence County-based organization and working on behalf of the Coalition, arranged for the Winter Carnival sponsorship through federal grant funds. The Coalition works on a variety of projects that are designed to encourage positive growth for youth and to discourage underage drinking.

“We are absolutely delighted about this generous sponsorship from the Coalition,” Ms. Catapano said. “We are organizing a variety of healthy, family-friendly, hometown celebrations for our fifth annual Winter Carnival and are excited by the support from the community.”

For updated information on the Winter Carnival, visit the chamber’s website at www.massenachamber.com.

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