Cold winter weather affects crowds at Alton Bay winter carnival

Special to the Union Leader
February 17. 2013 9:06PM
Horse-drawn sleigh passengers ride bundled up on Sunday afternoon during the Alton Bay Winter Carnival. Horse owner and driver Bruce Glock said this was the first year he offered rides at the annual Alton Bay event. (LARISSA MULKERN PHOTO)

ALTON BAY - Appropriately, Old Man Winter blew over Alton Bay on Sunday for the annual winter carnival.

Snow and high winds forced the cancellation of some events, including the fly-in of small planes on the Alton Bay Ice Runway on Lake Winnipesaukee and helicopter rides. But other events and contests proceeded as usual. Volunteers cooked, grilled and fried plenty of hot foods for the several hundred diehards who braved the cold and wind.

The Alton Bay Business Association and the town of Alton have co-hosted the winter carnival for the past five years. ABA Chair Chris Racine bundled up Sunday in a warm red parka and furry hat.

She said attendance was down due to the weather. In the past, the carnival has attracted more than 1,000 people. A snowstorm blew through the Lakes Region on Sunday morning, and when the snow stopped the winds picked up.

"With the high winds, we had to cancel the helicopter rides . but a lot of the other events are a go," she said. This year's weather was a far cry from last year's mild conditions that forced the carnival out to the parking lot in front of Alton Bay.

Events and activities include a kids' ice fishing contest, crazy hat contest, bob house decorating contest, pond hockey, DJ music, and a photo scavenger hunt.

A popular attraction was a horse-drawn sleigh ride over the ice. Bruce Glock brought his two Belgian/Percheron quarter horses and carriage out to the carnival for the first time. Dusted with some snow and ice crystals, the horses looked cold. Glock said the horses stay warm, "as long as they are moving." And judging by the full carriage, the steeds were getting a good workout as they clopped across the slushy bay.

Winter Carnival Princess Erin Melendon, 23, of Middleton, wore a floor-length, white-and-blue gown and blue cape and a tiara as she mingled with children and friends at the carnival.

Her role?

"I pass out the prizes and dance with the kids to loosen them up - and to stay warm," she said with a smile.

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