The 27th annual Moosestompers winter carnival returned to a full slate of activities this year, and by most accounts, children, parents and grandparents had a blast being outside in the snow.
HOULTON, Maine — The 27th annual Moosestompers winter carnival returned to a full slate of activities this year, and by most accounts, children, parents and grandparents had a blast being outside in the snow.
A number of popular activities that were canceled last year because of COVID-19 restrictions returned to mass appeal this year, including snowmobile rides, horse-drawn hay rides, a massive bonfire and children’s coin scramble.
Most of Friday night’s activities were canceled due to a winter storm that dropped a foot of new snow in the Houlton area throughout the day. On Saturday, bitterly cold temperatures kept attendance down for much of the day, but those who attended enjoyed a full slate of winter activities.
“Our numbers were definitely down on Saturday,” said Nancy Ketch, one of the event organizers. “I think it was a number of factors … the cold temps is certainly one of them. Those that were around on Saturday, though, had a great time. There were lots of skaters that day and the cross country ski trailer was very busy.”
The one Saturday event that drew a crowd was the return of a fireworks display in Houlton’s Community Park.
“There were many people who came to the park, with several staying in cars and watching from there, but there was a nice crowd of folks who gathered around the bonfire after and stayed around for a,” Ketch said. “We definitely want to have the fireworks again and will do so if the level of sponsorship continues to support it.”
Sunday was by far the busiest day of the three-day carnival with a steady stream of children enjoying sliding on Derby Hill, cross country skiing and snowshoeing, as well as free public ice skating and snowmobile rides.
“Participation on Sunday was excellent,” Ketch said. “Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day so many more children were out on the sliding hill, skating, cross country skiing, enjoying a snowmobile or hay ride and finding some half dollars. All in all, it was a fabulous weekend.”
Ketch added the event would not be possible without the generous support of local sponsors and volunteers.
“We appreciate all of the community members who come out and enjoy the festivities,” she said. “It is all the smiles on children’s — and adult’s — faces that is the true measure of success and we saw a lot of them.”