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February 14. 2013 8:07PM

Alton Bay Winter Carnival returns to ice this year

ALTON BAY - The Alton Bay Winter Carnival returns to the ice Sunday for a day filled with cool contests and free food.

The Winter Carnival, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., is co-sponsored by the Alton Bay Business Association and the town of Alton.

ABA Chair Chris Racine of Profile Bank said the carnival returns to the ice this year. Last year's weather conditions forced events onto the parking lot at Alton Bay.

"We're thrilled it will be held back on the ice this year," she said, adding some slushy spots will be cleared.

New events this year include a snowmobile parade and snowmobile driver costume contest. Snow machines include vintage and new models alike. Another new attraction is a chowder contest, where local restaurants will offer chowder for tasting and the public can vote on their favorite.

Meredith Village Savings Bank and the Alton Parks and Recreation Department will sponsor the Great Alton Bay Bed Race during the Carnival at 3 p.m. near the Alton Bay Ice Bandstand on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Events and activities include a kids' ice fishing contest, crazy hat contest, bob house decorating contest, pond hockey and a photo scavenger hunt. With exception of sleigh rides on the ice, and helicopter rides over the bay, all events and food are free. Proceeds from the paid rides are donated to local charities.

Racine said this is the fifth annual carnival sponsored by the ABA. In prior years, the town sponsored the carnival but it eventually fizzled out. She said the ABA decided to start it up again as a way to give back.

"Our mission is not only to support local businesses, but to give back to the community. It's the community that keeps our businesses thriving," she said.

The carnival typically draws from 500 to 1,500 participants turning out to enjoy the day's events, she said.

A returning fan favorite event is the bed race. Anyone who wants to participate in the bed race can create a bed, put skis on the bottom and a push bar across the head and foot of the bed. A five-person team, with four people pushing and one person riding, race the bed from the start to the finish line. Themed beds are always a hit, said Racine. Cleats or spikes are not permitted on the ice, however, and riders need to wear a helmet.

The public boat ramp access to Alton Bay will be closed to motorized traffic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


lmulkern@newstote.com



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