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Nashua Park Board ready for Winterfest on Saturday

By Bob Fenske, Of the Reporter

Nat Sinnwell laughed when he was asked about what kind of the weather the Nashua Park Board wants for its Winterfest celebration.

Not too cold, but not too warm, either, the Park Board chairman said. “The 20s would be perfect.”

Nashua Park Board ready for Winterfest on Saturday
Curling is coming back to Nashua, part of Winterfest planned for Saturday, Feb. 5. Metro Image Library

The Park Board is bringing Winterfest back to Nashua on Saturday, Feb. 5, and board members have a variety of activities planned for the day, including curling, motorbike ice racing demonstrations, ice skating, ice fishing, snowshoeing, broom ball and fireworks.

The event resurrects winter celebrations held years ago in Nashua and is also part of the Park Board’s efforts to raise awareness about the gem the city has in Cedar View Park.

“We try to do something in the parks once a month when the weather’s good, but with the lake and everything, we just felt like Winterfest was a natural,” Sinnwell said. “We thought we’d give it a try, see how it goes and then build on it next year.”

Part of that is bringing curling back to the community where it was once a rite of winter. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Nashua Town and Country Club had a curling rink.

“The tough part was the rocks,” Sinnwell said, referring to the highly polished and precisely ground granite stones that are used in the sport.

“When we looked into it, we found out that to buy sets of used rocks — yes, used rocks — you’d need $10,000 to $15,000, but we were able to find a place that rents rocks for $750 and we thought that might be the way to go.”

The schedule for Winterfest begins at 11 a.m. with sledding in the park and the opening of warming houses and the lighting of bonfires, and ends with a 5:30 p.m. fireworks show. Other events on the schedule include:

  • Motorbike ice races demonstrations at 11 a.m.
  • Youth open curling from 11 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Open skating from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • A curling tournament — or at least “pickup” games of curling — at 11:30 a.m.
  • Snowshoeing from 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Broom ball — think hockey without skates and sticks but with boots and brooms — from 3 to 5 p.m.

In addition, St. John Lutheran Church will host a coffee and hot chocolate bar, there will be a pool tournament at Big Willie’s beginning at 11 a.m. and a soup and chili cook-off and a bags tournament at the Nashua Town and Country Club beginning at 5 p.m.

The only downside to the date is that it does conflict with the Class 1A sectional wrestling tournament that will be held in Clarksville on Feb. 5.

“There isn’t really a date that you can find where you don’t have a conflict,” Sinnwell said, “and with the way winters have been — we’ve had a lot of warm Decembers lately — we didn’t want to go too early because we wanted to make sure the ice was strong. Like I said, we’ll try it this year and we’ll make adjustments next year.”

There is no admission fee to the park for Winterfest, but the Park Board will have buckets for freewill donations.

The big fundraiser for the Park Board will be the “Car Drop” — buying tickets guessing the time the car will drop through the ice this spring.

The winner will receive a gift basket that includes $50 from Smoke, Sizzle and Sear, $50 from Uiller’s Custom Processing, $20 from JTees, $20 from Big Willie’s, $20 from Nubs, $20 from the Husky Wellness Center and two free nights of camping at Cedar View Park.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun, and we’re appreciative of everyone who’s helping us put this together,” Sinnwell said. “I’m already hearing about people strategizing about when the ice will go and the car will drop.”

Sponsors for the celebration include the Husky Wellness Center, Twin Ponds Nature Center, Cedar Valley Trailer Sales, S&T Collision, the Nashua Fire Department, Sandy Corners Mx and the Nashua Women of Today.

“It’s cool to see how many folks have gotten behind this,” Sinnwell said. “We’re hoping this will be a fun day for not only people from Nashua and Plainfield but also visitors. Our goal is to put a spotlight not just on the park but also the two great communities we have here in Nashua and Plainfield.”

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