Weather cooperates for Winter Carnival

6 years ago

CARIBOU, Maine — This year’s Caribou Winter Carnival, the last held at Teague Park due to the coming school project, is now a wrap, with organizers looking to offer more fun and variety for next year.

The event was a success, said Caribou Marketing and Events Coordinator Christina Kane-Gibson, thanks to help from numerous volunteers.

“It takes a big team to pull off an event like this,” she said. “The rec staff and JMG students always give me 110 percent. This wouldn’t happen without the help of the community, and it’s because of them that I can offer these events. It really makes me happy, and it makes us unique in that we can come together and pull this off.”

The annual winter event began on Friday Feb. 16 with ice skating on Collins Pond and a “Guns vs. Hoses” basketball game in which the police department competed against the fire department to raise money for the Special Olympics. The Caribou police ultimately won the game 55-36. The game raised $1,416 for the Special Olympics, according to Kane-Gibson.

Caribou City Manager Dennis Marker volunteered to be a referee during the game, and said he and his family “had a blast” during the entirety of Winter Carnival.

“The crowd had some good laughs,” Marker said, “and thankfully we didn’t have to use any of the medical training on the court. The two departments have a great camaraderie.”

Parks and Rec Superintendent Gary Marquis said the weather was great on Saturday.

“You couldn’t ask for a better day,” he said. The sun is shining, the temperatures are great, and there are a lot of activities going on in the park. We had a two-team broomball tournament, which the Corriveau State Farm Team won. The Bombi rides are a hit, and people are taking advantage of that as well.”

The Bombi is a tank-like yellow Bombardier Skidozer 252, driven by Nate Germain of the department. Marquis said the vehicle is used for emergency service issues throughout the city’s ATV trails, and that it is always a hit when used during city events.

“Anyone coming out [of the Bombi] has a big smile,” Marquis said.

The city also held cardboard sled races, requiring contestants to make their own sleds out of cardboard.

“You can’t use wax cardboard, but you can use duct tape,” said Marquis. “They look awesome and they can go quite a ways.”

Caribou resident John Locke and his 12-year-old daughter, Zoë-Jane Locke, won the cardboard sled races, earning a trophy.

“It’s the first time we did the race,” said John Locke, “and that was so much fun. We built it ourselves; it took us about two or three days. We waited until after school, and after homework, and worked on it. It was awesome.”

Zoë-Jane Locke said she was enjoying the festivities, and that, so far, her favorite aspect of the event was a fishing game offered in the Rec Center for the “Penny Carnival.”

“I like how you toss the line and a prize comes onto the fishing lure,” she said. “It’s really cool.”
Chandler Bell, who has worked at the Caribou Rec Center for two and a half years, manned the fishing lure station.

“It’s definitely a good game for kids,” he said. “They just cast a line, throw it [behind a small cardboard wall] and someone behind it attaches a prize based on gender. They have a blast. It’s hilarious.”

Next to the fishing booth was Caribou JMG Specialist Dr. Valerie Waldemarson, who said 13 of her students helped with many of the penny carnival festivities. Waldemarson and one student manned a raffle booth at which kids could exchange pennies for raffle tickets to win a toy of their choosing.

“The kids really like it because, either way, they’re winning something,” she said. “They either get a ticket or a prize.”

“Everything has been good so far,” said Waldemarson on Saturday. “Parents like the fact that students are running events that kids can relate to.”

A “Frozen” sing-along at the Performing Arts Center, featuring volunteers dressed as characters from the popular Disney film, capped off the festivities.

“That had to be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen,” Kane-Gibson said. “Tons of people dressed up. I sat in the audience with my kids singing along with everyone, and it was great just hearing all their voices in unison.”

The events coordinator said, after the event, she noticed several kids waiting around.

“I asked what they were waiting for,” she said, “and they said they wanted hugs, so the princesses came back and gave hugs and high-fives. We definitely have to do that again.”

Next year, Kane-Gibson said she would like to incorporate more indoor events, as many of the guests gravitated toward inside offerings.

“We’re trying to do more unique things like the Bombi rides and also offer some other indoor events,” she said. “We might mix things up with some dart or cribbage tournaments. This year we’re baby-stepping back into it, and seeing what people want to do next year.”