MASSENA - A crowd of Massena government officials, chamber of commerce members and excited residents gathered inside the chamber building on Church Street Thursday evening to get the fifth annual Winter Carnival underway.
The 10-day festival began yesterday with the opening ceremonies, including music, food, and the ice sculpture unveilings of the various sponsors.
Chamber board President Miriam S. Catapano addressed the crowd shortly before leading the way outdoors to see the sculptures.
(The opening ceremonies) are a social event. ... we will go outside, and we will have the unveiling of the ice sculptures that are here presenting our major sponsors, Ms. Catapano said.
The opening ceremony has grown in recent years. Also, the kids events are very popular. We do it twice, both this Saturday and then we repeat it again out at Hawkins Point next Sunday. One of the biggest events is the parade and the fireworks. They are really popular, she noted.
One of (the newer events) that I think is very interesting is our photography contest. We really got a slow start, but we have close to 50 (entries.) Tonight people can vote on the peoples choice, and we do have a judging panel that will be picking the winners. Its nice and this has really taken off.
A new group to this years edition of the Winter Carnival is the Cultivating Healthy Communities Coalition. The organization arranged for Winter Carnival sponsorship through federal grant funds and the coalition coordinator, Felicia Neahr, was thrilled with the start of the events.
This is our first year of involvement. I happened to join the carnival committee and learned about title sponsorships opportunities and happened to get approval for that, so were excited to be a part of it this year, Ms. Neahr said.
We will be at several of the events. I have run the 5k in the past so I am of course excited about that and we have some information thats going out to the runners this year. We have chip clips with our lock it up campaign on there.
The Prevention First New York grant, which is the grant that I am coordinating, its all about preventing underage drinking. ... Were excited about a lot of things. Well be marching in the parade this year and well have a table at the marketplace and well be giving away parenting DVDs and stuff like that.
Chamber board member Tina R. Corcoran explained that because of the many family oriented events she feels that this years edition could be special. I think whats nice about this years Winter Carnival is that its really centered around family activities, which is really nice, she said.
Ive been on the chamber (board) for over a decade, and the Winter Carnival is something that people kept saying they wanted, so we developed it. Now, whats nice is that other agencies and service groups are adding to it. Like we have the Trivia Night for the Boys & Girls Club, thats awesome.
The Winter Carnival continues today and tomorrow with the Massena Cup Hockey Tournament, taking place at Massena Arena.
Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray and Mayor James F. Hidy delivered much praise for the chambers tireless work in putting together the festivities.
I think this is the strongest of the five (Winter Carnivals.) The others have been good, but I think this might be the strongest as far as diversity and variety of things, Mr. Gray said. The ice sculptures are a great addition and the fireworks and the other events make this, I think, the strongest one.
Credit to Miriam and (Associate Director Penny Pullmain) with the chamber who have been working crazy. They are doing a great job, and the board is contributing a lot too.
I too would like to congratulate Miriam and Penny on doing a great job of keeping this program going. In light of the bad news that we had (Wednesday), we still have to keep a positive attitude going and some positive things happening in Massena, and this is just one of those tools to help do that, Mr. Hidy added.
Id also like to thank the sponsors who helped out here. Buy locally, thats the buzz word today. Without further ado, lets get the program going and lets have some fun this week.