Winter Carnival Returns to Garrison

Annual community event will add archery biathlon

By Alison Rooney

The response was so positive to last year’s Winter Carnival — the day of outdoor (and some indoor) activities organized jointly by the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, Philipstown Recreation and Friends of Philipstown Recreation —that version 3.0 was never in doubt. This year’s edition, again chock full of sledding, skating, storytelling and snacking, takes place (barring a blizzard) on Saturday, Feb. 6. All the activities are free of charge, with food available for purchase.

In a change from last year, when activities were run concurrently at two sites, the events will be staggered at Winter Hill and the Philipstown Recreation Center, in order to avoid histrionics from kids who balk at leaving one activity for another. The activities at Winter Hill will fill up the early afternoon, followed by a late afternoon and evening switch to Philipstown Rec.

There are other nearby family things going on during that day, too, such as Eaglefest at Croton Point Park. This schedule allows families to pick and choose, says HHLT’s Kathy Hamel. “You don’t have to spend the whole day there,” she says. “You can do just daytime or the nighttime skating and movie. If you have other plans, you can put a little Winter Carnival into them.”

New this year is a “biathlon,” which will consist of downhill sledding combined with archery with blunt-tipped arrows. Participants will be timed and receive credit for hitting the target. For example, if it takes a competitor two minutes to complete the course and they hit two of three targets, their time will be one minute, 40 seconds. Hudson River Expeditions is helping with the sledding portion and an adult will be monitoring the archery.

Happy sledding at last year's Winter Carnival. (Image courtesy of HHLT)

Happy sledding at last year’s Winter Carnival. (Image courtesy of HHLT)

If there’s no snow, there will be a winter hike, highlighting the joys of the outdoors during this season, with tree identification. The ice carving, ice skating and movie will still take place.

The movie to be shown is Ernest and Celestine, described at as “the coziest movie you’ll likely see all year. Every frame is suffused with a fireplace kind of warmth that, for me at least, cast an immediate spell that didn’t let up. The French-produced animated movie is skewed to kids, and unlike today’s animated product from Hollywood, it isn’t self-consciously concerned with making an appeal to adults: this simple story of an unlikely friendship between a mouse and a bear in a funny-animal world.”

Parking will be available at both sites and a free shuttle bus will provide transportation between locations.

Hamel says the HHLT organizes outreach programs like this and its Take-A-Hike series to “get people out in the land, to share the beauty of it. We do this winter program because the natural tendency is to hibernate in winter, but it’s actually great to get out in all the seasons and enjoy. Plus, doing it with your community is so much more fun.”

Carnival Schedule

At Winter Hill, 20 Nazareth Way (off Snake Hill Road), Garrison

1 to 5 p.m.

Sledding throughout
Ice carving demonstration, 1–3 p.m.
Indoor storytime, 2–3 p.m.
Biathlon, 3-4 p.m.
Lunch fare, snacks, beverages available for purchase, starting at 1 p.m.

At Philipstown Recreation Center, 107 Glenclyffe Drive (off of Route 9D), Garrison

4 to 8 p.m.

Ice skating throughout
Raffle, 5:30 p.m.
Ernest and Celestine, presented by Cold Spring Film Society, 6 p.m.
Dinner fare, beverages available for purchase starting at 4 p.m.

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