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No snow, no problem: Hantsport Winter Carnival goes off without hitch despite warm weather

Five-year-old Josie Griffin, from Windsor, was one of many youngsters fascinated by the colourful igloo at the 2019 Hantsport Winter Carnival.
Five-year-old Josie Griffin, from Windsor, was one of many youngsters fascinated by the colourful igloo at the 2019 Hantsport Winter Carnival. - Carole Morris-Underhill

HANTSPORT, N.S. — If there’s one thing the Hantsport Winter Carnival organizer has learned over the years, it’s to predict – and plan for – a lack of snow.

In fact, when Paul Morton organizes the event, he makes sure the majority of events are not weather-dependent.

“We’re not snow-dependent. We learned that the first year,” said Morton, who revived the carnival in 2014.

The igloo at HMCC in Hantsport was still standing, albeit failing, during the Hantsport Winter Carnival’s evening celebrations on Jan. 26. As the igloo began to melt, children took turns peering inside the structure. Pictured here are Kyler and Lucas Gillott, of Melanson, Kings County.
The igloo at HMCC in Hantsport was still standing, albeit failing, during the Hantsport Winter Carnival’s evening celebrations on Jan. 26. As the igloo began to melt, children took turns peering inside the structure. Pictured here are Kyler and Lucas Gillott, of Melanson, Kings County.

“I try to stay away from the snow events because you never know what you’re going to get. Every event went off (this year),” he said.

And that included the snow fort and snowperson contest.

Morton said people got creative and submitted entries using cardboard, Lego and items around the house. All entrants received prizes.

Helen Murphy was one of several Hantsport Fire Department volunteers to keep the Hantsport Winter Carnival bonfire stoked.
Helen Murphy was one of several Hantsport Fire Department volunteers to keep the Hantsport Winter Carnival bonfire stoked.

Morton volunteers his time to organize the festival in order to give residents and visitors a chance to be active, creative and have fun together during the after-Christmas slump.

“I believe the winter carnival went really well. Attendance was up in most things, down in a couple. Everybody seemed to have fun,” said Morton of the event which ran from Jan. 24-27.

“I always like to try to get something new every year. This year, we put in the coffeehouse,” he said.

That event, which was held Jan. 26 at School Street Studio Glass and featured the Hants County band the Feedback Monkeys, was well-attended.

“A lot of people were happy with the community-wide scavenger hunt. Instead of just being on HMCC grounds, you had to walk the whole community to find things. That was about a 40-minute venture for most of them. They seemed to like that,” he said.

Morton said he’ll be looking to build on the popular carnival and add something new to the mix for 2020. What new event that will be remains to be seen.

For Morton, seeing people having fun during the wintertime and getting to watch the fireworks display on Saturday night are always the highlight of the festival. He credits a committed group of volunteers to helping ensure the festival activities, most of which are free to attend, take place. He said volunteers are key to making the annual event such a success.

“I’d just like to thank everybody that came out and enjoyed themselves, especially the people that helped with the winter carnival. Without some help, it’d never happen.”

Capt. Richard Murphy, with the Hantsport Fire Department, ensured the burning trees were contained to the bonfire’s perimeter.
Capt. Richard Murphy, with the Hantsport Fire Department, ensured the burning trees were contained to the bonfire’s perimeter.


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Fireworks lit up the night sky as the Christmas tree bonfire slowly died down at the Hantsport Winter Carnival’s outdoor festivities.
Fireworks lit up the night sky as the Christmas tree bonfire slowly died down at the Hantsport Winter Carnival’s outdoor festivities.

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