CARTHAGE — Despite the single digit temperatures, an estimated 180 to 200 people turned out Saturday for the annual Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce Winterfest.
“There was lower attendance than usual probably because of the temperature,” Jeanette A. Turner, chamber executive director said. “We got the snow but we also got the lower temperature but overall it went well.”
The biggest draw to the event is the cardboard sled race. Nine sleds were judged for creativity and competed in three categories to see which could go the furthest down the hill at Carthage Park. Sleds ranged from simply boxes painted or covered in duct tape to the more elaborate hot rod.
The most creative, as deemed by members of the Carthage Central School JROTC, was Camryn Rathbun’s Claw Machine. The sled which replicated an arcade game complete with stuffed animal prizes also won the Junior Freestyle division, for middle school age contestants. Serenity Rathbun in a Popcorn Machine sled won amongst a field of six in the Pee Wee division for younger contestants. Ridden past the end of the downhill course, Kiera, Keny and Jayda Elliot’s hot rod sled won in the family division.
Keny said her father, Beau, made the hot rod because, “he’s kind of into cars.” Mr. Elliott said the hot rod took about 40 hours to create. The family has competed in the contest for a number of years with past entries including a UFO – Keny’s favorite, tank and a motorcycle with a sidecar. The girls said they look forward to the cardboard sled race each year. Kiera said next year she hopes they make a rocket ship.
In memory of their grandfather, the late Dickie Howland, Adelia and Alacia West of Carthage, made a canoe out of cardboard, tape and paint. They have been entered in the contest for a number of years and their grandfather before his death had suggested they build a canoe. His photo adorned the front of the craft which outdistanced all the others in the first round of the Pee Wee category.
“We all do it together,” said their mother Jennika West. “It’s a family thing.”
The Ladies Fry Pan Toss was also a family thing with Candy Martin of Carthage signing up this year to try to defeat her daughter Mchaela Dozier of Carthage, the returning defending champion. Ms. Dozier outthrew her mother with 19 feet but Gloryvette Villegas of Fort Drum claimed the title with a distance of 29 feet. The nine contestants with the exception of Ms. Dozier were all first-time competitors.
Natalie Bruce of Black River said the experience was “embarrassing and cold.”
“I was talked into signing up,” she explained after she threw the 10-inch cast iron skillet 26 feet barehanded.
Mrs. Villegas said this was her first time at Winterfest and the first she had heard of a fry pan toss.
“I’m going to do this at home with my family,” she said, planning to return next year to defend her title.
After learning about Winterfest from the Fort Drum Recreational Services Facebook page, she decided to bring her three children to the event.
“They don’t like the snow and cold but they had fun inside getting their faces painted and doing the scavenger hunt,” Mrs. Villega said. “I liked it. It’s a very nice family activity and everyone was very welcoming. “
Reegan Millard, 8, of Glenfield and his brother Carson, 6, said their favorite part of the event was having their faces painted to look like dinosaurs. Facepainting was provided by Brushstrokes by Melina.
Northern Credit Union hosted the scavenger hunt with a drawing for a prize package. Other inside activities included bingo, a raffle which was free for children, a bake sale by the Friends of Carthage Free Library, crafts provided by First Baptist Church of Carthage along with a magic show and balloon creations by Michael Beyette. Carthage Area Hospital and H&R Block had displays. Food, prepared by local Cub Scout and Girl Scout troops, was available for sale.
Held in conjunction with Winterfest was a fundraiser across the street at the Carthage Church of the Nazarene to benefit the Village Ecumenical Ministries Food Pantry and Wilna Champion Transportation Association.
Organizations created constructions from nonperishable food items and personal hygiene products which were voted on by visitors. The St. James Youth Council constructed a castle out of paper towels and toilet paper. Grace Episcopal Church made a lighthouse and the Carthage First Baptist Church’s entry was a cross. The North Country Fellowship made an etch-a-sketch and Lake UCC was presented by the United Community Church. Both the Carthage Church of the Nazarene and Carthage Savings and Loan made flags. By the money donated at each display St. James was deemed the winner and will have full bragging rights for the next year.
The event raised $543 for the shuttle bus and all the food and hygienic item will be donated to the food pantry.