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Lack of snow forces cancellation of Winter Carnival dog sled races

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MASSENA — The topsy-turvy winter weather has forced Massena Winter Carnival organizers to cancel this weekend’s dog sled races at the New York Power Authority’s Hawkins Point Visitor’s Center because of the lack of snow.

However, there will still be a dry sled demonstration in its place, and other activities scheduled for the Winter Carnival are still a go.

“Since Mother Nature has decided not to grant our request of snow, snow and more snow, and for the safety of the mushers and their dogs, it is necessary to cancel the dog sled races for both Saturday and Sunday,” Massena Winter Carnival co-Chair and Chamber President Susan E. Stiles said.

“However, we are very excited to announce that Christina Gates from the Arctic Sled Dog Racing Association will be at Hawkins Point Visitor’s Center with her dogs and will be making presentations on Saturday, along with Spencer Thew owner of the Call of the Wild Kennels, who will be on hand for demonstrations of Dryland Dog Sled Racing,” she said.

Those presentations will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “and will be great opportunities for everyone to interact with the dog sled owners and their dogs, as well as exploring a different type of dog sled racing,” Ms. Stiles said.

The dog sled races haven’t been the only casualty of the weather this year. A moonlight guided snowshoe and ski scheduled for last Friday at the Nature Center at Robert Moses State Park was canceled because of a lack of snow, as was a planned snow sculpture contest at the St. Lawrence Centre mall.

Otherwise, Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael J. Gleason said, activities have gone as scheduled, with more to come.

The Massena Cup outdoor hockey tournament still hit the ice — though it wasn’t outdoors because warm temperatures kept officials from successfully laying down a coat of ice in the Massena Arena annex. Instead, the tournament went on as scheduled inside the arena.

“It was just too warm,” he said. “It was great even though it was indoors.”

The tournament featured 20 teams from areas that included Massena, Hogansburg, Plattsburgh, Syracuse and as far away as North Carolina.

Children’s activities held Jan. 19 at the Massena Community Center were also a hit, with more than 250 children showing up for the fun, according to Mr. Gleason.

The day featured crafts and games, horse-drawn wagon rides and a visit by Cubby T. Clown.

Although the Nature Center wasn’t able to offer a guided snowshoe and ski, they did move ahead with a doggie winter fashion show on Saturday.

Two indoor events drew good crowds, Mr. Gleason said.

A Trivia Night fundraiser at The Village Inn featured 16 teams.

“We raised over $2,500. We had a great turnout for that,” he said.

A Family Feud game was also held at the VFW, drawing between 20 and 25 people.

Now, Mr. Gleason said, it’s time to look forward to other activities that begin Thursday with opening ceremonies and conclude on Sunday with closing ceremonies.

Opening ceremonies will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the chamber office, 16 Church St. They will feature wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres and an “unveiling,” according to Ms. Stiles and Winter Carnival co-Chair Miram S. Catapano.

The activities continue Friday evening.

“Friday night we’ve got the parade. It starts at 7 p.m. with line-up at 6,” Mr. Gleason said.

Fireworks will follow between 8 and 8:30 p.m. at Bushnell Field.

Saturday’s events include a 5K Walk/run at the Massena Country Club, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.

“The 5K run is still on,” Mr. Gleason said. “The events scheduled at Hawkins Point Visitor’s Center for both Saturday and Sunday will go on as planned with a few adjustments.”

The Winter Carnival Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., while horse-drawn wagon rides take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cubby T. Clown will be there from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Massena Chamber will have a food booth.

Evening activities include a Winter Carnival Meet and Greet Dinner from 6 to 8 p.m. at Thee Village Inn, followed by karaoke at 9 p.m.

Sunday’s events at the Hawkins Point Visitor’s Center include children’s activities from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., horse-drawn wagon rides from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Cubby T. Clown from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the chamber food booth and closing ceremonies. There will also be a drawing for the Winter Carnival 50-50 raffle.

For information on the events, visit the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce’s website at www.massenachamber.com where an updated list is maintained.

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