HANTSPORT, N.S. — The fifth annual Hantsport Winter Carnival is shaping up to be the best one to date, says the carnival's organizer.
Paul Morton, who, in 2014, was responsible for reviving the once-popular carnival, has been volunteering to put the event on every year. He credits continued community support and fellow volunteers for helping provide something that beats back the doldrums of the winter and gets families outside and active.
“It makes us feel good,” said Morton as to why he, along with his wife and son, continue to host the festival.
“People look forward to it. We get phone calls right after it happens, 'are you going to do it next year?',” Morton said.
“We have different groups coming to us now that would like to have something in it, and I say 'if you can plan it, if you can organize it, you can run it,'” he said, adding he spends countless hours behind the scenes trying to make the festival run smoothly.
There's a core group of eight to 10 people who donate their time to the carnival, with several others helping out during the event.
Morton says the festival strives to have something fun for all ages and he's pretty sure he has found the perfect event to add for 2018.
“We felt that we missed the age group from 13 to adult,” said Morton.
So, the West Hants councillor and Hantsport resident put on his thinking cap and purchased laser tag equipment. He hopes the new activity will capture the interest of even more residents.
“There's 12 guns, four different colours, four different sounds. The guns will shoot between 100 to 150 feet,” said Morton.
There will be two chances to take part in the free laser tag competition: Jan. 25 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and Jan. 28 from noon until 2 p.m. at the Hantsport Memorial Community Centre grounds. Each game will last about 10 minutes.
Anyone can participate in laser tag, but due to the cost of the equipment, participants must leave a driver's license or cash deposit, which will be returned after the game, in order to prevent the gear from going missing.
“We tried out the guns (recently)... and they are very fun. There were about 10 of us that did it and everybody seemed to have a great time,” said Morton.
Another new event this year is Hantsport Winter Olympics. Held on the last day of the festival from 10 a.m. until noon, participants will compete in such events as snowshoe races and snowball throwing (which will focus on distance and accuracy). This event, also free, takes place at HMCC.
Morton says they are planning to build another giant illuminated igloo out of frozen blocks of ice. This effort, which is constructed by hand, will require several volunteers and between 600 to 1,000 blocks of ice. They plan to build the igloo on Jan. 21, 2018. Morton is asking residents to freeze coloured water in two-litre cardboard juice containers. For those who don't have room in their freezers, Morton is arranging to have a place to store them.
Morton said he's hoping the festival, which runs from Jan. 25-28, 2018, will be the best one yet.
Here's a list of some of the activities planned for the Hantsport Winter Carnival.
• Igloo building at HMCC, starting in the morning. *Free
• Celebrate the 2018 Winter Olympics with an evening at the Isabel and Roy Jodrey Memorial Library from 6-7:30p.m. There will be cupcake decorating, games and crafts, and a visit from Chilly Willy. *Free
• Laser tag will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at HMCC. *Free, but deposit required to use the guns
• Basketball tournament at Hantsport School starts at 2 p.m. and wraps up Jan. 27. *Free
• Children's video dance at the Hantsport Fire Hall from 6-8:30 p.m. *Free
• HMCC breakfast from 7:30-10:30 a.m. *Admission will be charged
• Snowman/snow fort competition will be judged starting at 10:30 a.m. *Free; prizes awarded
• A ball hockey tournament will take place at HMCC all day. *Free
• There will be a chili lunch and silent auction from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Hantsport Fire Hall in support of the Hantsport Home and School Association. *Admission will be charged
• An afternoon of Lego and board games is planned for children ages five and up at the library. The event runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. *Free
• An escape room will challenge participants from 2:30-4 p.m. at the library. This is intended for youths 13 years and up. *Free
• A scavenger hunt will be held at HMCC from 2-4 p.m. All ages welcome. *Free
• Baked beans and scalloped potatoes and ham supper is planned from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Hantsport Baptist Church. *Admission will be charged
• There will be a community bonfire with hotdogs and hot chocolate at HMCC at 6 p.m. followed by fireworks at 7 p.m. *Free
• The evening will wrap up with a concert by the Hupman Brothers at Churchill House following the fireworks. *Admission will be charged
• Hantsport Winter Olympics will be held from 10 a.m. until noon at HMCC. *Free
• Laser tag will be held from 12-2 p.m. at HMCC. *Free, but deposit required to use the guns
• Chocolate bar bingo will wrap up the festival at the fire hall at 3 p.m. *Free