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Tuesday, January 12 2016

94th Annual Winter Carnival Keeps the Magic Alive

Adapted From a Greenfield Recreation Department press release:

Nothing says tradition in Greenfield like Winter Carnival and it returns for its 94th year Friday, February 5th, through Sunday, February 7th. Winter Carnival dates back to 1922 and, since its very beginning, has brought the community together in celebration during a time of year that can be long, cold, and dreary.  2016 will be no exception, with an exciting, jam packed, magic-themed weekend of activities planned.

The celebration kicks off with live ice carving by area artists, taking place throughout downtown Greenfield during the day on Friday.  Ice sculptures will be displayed through the weekend and people are encouraged to vote for their favorite using the ballot box on the Town Common.  Be sure to drive down Main Street at dusk to see the sculptures illuminated, it’s a can't miss sight!

The carnival continues with the 2nd Annual Parade of Lights, in which illuminated vehicles will travel from Newton School to Beacon Field with displays that are sure to light up the night.  Parade entries are still needed. Following the parade, a bonfire and fireworks display will take place at Beacon Field!  Other activities on Friday include an amateur photography contest and the 24th Annual David M. Petrin Memorial Alumni Hockey Game.

The celebration resumes on Saturday with the 4 mile Sleigh Bell Run!  Participants jingle their way through a scenic course that begins on Hope Street and winds through the Highland Park area.  Participants can pre-register online, or at the Greenfield Recreation Department and Town Hall, or on the day of at Hope & Olive Restaurant.

For those looking for some indoor fun on Saturday, don’t miss the Family Fun Fest. The fest features a Lego competition, magician, art exhibit, face painting, crafts, games, and a showing of Disney’s Inside Out. Popcorn, pizza, and drinks will also be available for purchase.  Additional Saturday activities include basketball games, a cribbage tournament, and public ice skating.

Sunday’s events start bright and early with Breakfast with Olaf at 8AM at the Ninety-Nine Restaurant. This event is a fundraiser for Greenfield Winter Carnival and tickets are available in advance or at the door and are $6 per person, kids age 10 and under are $4 each, and children under 2 are free.

After breakfast, events continue at Beacon Field with a full afternoon of outdoor fun.  Activities (weather permitting) will include sledding, ice skating, building snowmen, a snow sculpture contest, ski & snowshoe demos by Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), a snow shoeing trek through Highland Park, horse drawn hay or sleigh rides, community wide tug of war, a live DJ, ice bowling, broom ball, and a hockey match. Delicious treats can be enjoyed with the cookie bake-off, chili cook-off, marshmallow toasting, and hot cocoa and other warm offerings from the snack shack.

Back for the 4th year by popular demand is the K-9 Keg Pull.  Participants run, dance, or do whatever it takes to urge their dogs across the finish line. Dogs will sprint for glory pulling appropriately sized kegs; for a Chihuahua, that’s a beer can, while mighty rotts or shepherds pull full sized kegs (all empty of course). Register in advance or on the day of.  All funds benefit the Paws Park Initiative. The conclusion of the events is the great cardboard sled race!  The creativity is limitless, as just about anything goes.  All sleds must be made of cardboard.  Prizes are awarded in the youth and group categories for fastest, most creative, zaniest, and best crash.  Adults can earn prizes for the fastest and most creative.  Businesses are also encouraged to join the fun in the Corporate Challenge, where a prize is awarded for best design.  Overall prizes also awarded to best "Winter is Magic" theme and People’s Choice.  For complete rules, click here.  An award ceremony, that will recognize winners from all competitions held throughout the weekend, will follow the race.

While most Winter Carnival events are free, some activities do include a fee or suggested donation. For a complete schedule of events, event map, fee information, and registration forms for specific activities, please visit

Winter Carnival is presented by the Greenfield Recreation Department and sponsored by Wormtown Trading, WHAI, BEAR Country, the Ninety Nine Restaurant, the Hammond Family, Safe Schools Safe Streets, Silver Screen Design, The Recorder, Cohn & Co, FRTA, Eastern Mountain Sports, Dicks Sporting Goods, AAA of the Pioneer Valley, Berkshire Gas, D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches, Design Alternative, Finn Insurance, Freedom Credit Union, Hope & Olive, Sandri Energy, Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters, Wilson’s Department Store, the Franklin County Amateur Radio Club, Summit Ice, Olive Street Development, Greenfield Savings Bank, Adam & Eve, Swift Cleaners, Attorney David Singer, Garden Cinema, Green Fields Market/ Franklin Community Co-Op, Ryan & Casey Liquors, and TD Bank.  For more information about the festival, please call (413) 772-1553.