Weather cooperates for Winterfest success in Carthage

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CARTHAGE — Mother Nature cooperated, bringing snow and nice weather for the annual Winterfest hosted by the Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce Saturday at Carthage Recreational Park.

Close to 200 turned out for family fun under clear, sunny skies.

The main attraction is always the cardboard sled race, which had 20 entries in five categories. The entries ranged from simple cardboard boxes to elaborate creations.

Brodie Wojcikowski, 10, and his sister Jordis, 11, of Carthage, decided at the last minute to enter. Brodie’s creation — “The Box” was just that, a box. Jordis created “The Flying Turtle.” Despite their simple designs, both sleds gave the winners a run for their money in the junior freestyle contest.

On the other end of the spectrum was the sled judged to be the most creative — “Carthage Caribbean’s.” Created by Ryan Gates, 16, of Carthage, the pirate ship was complete with a mast flying the Jolly Roger, an anchor and a treasure chest along with swords, a hook hand and eye patches for the pirate crew.

“I made it for my little brother and cousins,” said Ryan, noting it took him 12 hours to build.

“I’m proud of it,” said Ryan. “Hard work pays off.”

Last year, his family built a Model T “Rat Rod,” which placed second in the design contest. Looking to next year, he said maybe he would build a “tank or snowmobile maybe a race car.”

For the second year, there was a contest just for the ladies — a frying-pan toss. Debra Swem outdistanced the other 15 contestants, tossing the No. 10 cast-iron skillet more than 37 feet.

“This is the first time I’ve done it,” said Ms. Swem. “I came to support the Carthage Revolution football team, who put a sled in the race for the first time, and decided to participate in this. I loved it. I did pretty good for a 65-year-old.”

The horse-drawn wagon rides, which looped around Hospital Drive to West Street to Thorpe Street and back to the park, were also well received.

Lydia Podkowka, 6, of Boonville, came to Winterfest for the first time and was excited to go on the ride. “Because I like horses,” said the child, who had gotten her face painted at Winterfest as a penguin with a “smiley face” nose.

Indoors there were raffles every 15 minutes and the mega-raffle, of gift certificates and items from local businesses, which was won by Kylee Pominville. In addition there was a magic show, bingo, a scavenger hunt, refreshments, a bake sale to benefit the Friends of Carthage Free Library, and displays by Fidelis Care, the American Maple Museum and Carthage Area Hospital.

“I’m very pleased with the turnout and the help I’ve received from all the board members,” said chamber Executive Director Jeanette A. Turner. Although it was hard to determine the number of attendees, Mrs. Turner pointed out the parking lot at the park was filled to capacity.

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