New activities for Sparta's annual Winter Carnival

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:45

    SPARTA-Change is good believes Donna Jenkins, Sparta Recreation Programs Supervisor. And change is what's in store for the town's annual winter carnival, scheduled to take place on the weekend of Feb. 5 and 6. New format, more fun is her goal for this year's event. "Although our program format worked well in the past, we thought it was time for a change and this year we‘ve added some new activities to the schedule as well as some new locations," said Jenkins in an interview last week. Since most of the activities are snow related, the weather is a determining factor on the carnival's overall success. In the past, organizers had to cancel popular activities because of lack of snow. This year Jenkins plans to solve that problem by actually making her own snow. "Hopefully that will solve the possibility of not having snow on the ground. The "Winter Wildness" events for families this year include sledding, snow painting, snow shoe races and a foam ball fight. A lot of work goes into this carnival not only from the recreation department staff but also from the many volunteers who help out. It's very frustrating when we have to cancel it," said Jenkins, explaining that Sparta's winter celebrations typically take several months to plan and organize. "We plan on anywhere from 200 to 1,000 residents attending, all depending on the weather conditions. If it's freezing cold less families will show up, same outcome with rain," said Jenkins. Last year the carnival was cancelled due to icy conditions. This year the event will include indoor activities. The high school gym will host activities such as interactive competitions, game booths, and face painting, ideal for preschool and grade school children. Also new this year is a special program specifically designed for ‘tweenagers.' "We really wanted to make an attempt to include young people who were, or would have been active members of the former teen center population. An evening pool ‘adventure' party is scheduled from 7 to 10 p.m. for grades fifth through eighth at the Sussex Tech pool." On Sunday morning between 8 and 10 a.m., the fun will continue with a family swim at the pool at Mountain Spa and Fitness in McAfee. All Sparta residents are invited to enjoy the pool providing they show proof of residency. For those who prefer to continue enjoying the cold weather sports, Skylands Ice World is offering a special discount to Sparta residents on all activities on Sunday between 1:45 and 5 p.m. "Our goal is to get families out to the carnival not only to enjoy the park activities but all the other activities too. It should be a lot of fun and I hope everyone takes advantage of it," said Jenkins