by Cindy Pena
Sledding, hot chocolate, music, a bonfire and more all contributed to the success of the first annual Snow Day in New Britain.
The city of New Britain’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services department and Mayor Erin Stewart hosted the free event last Friday at Walnut Hill Park from 4 to 8 p.m.
Snow Day was created and founded in the ideas of the annual Winter Fest which was held previously at Stanley Quarter Park. Erik Barbieri, director of the Parks department, told the New Britain Herald that its inconvenient location and unexpected warm weather led for them to reinvent the festival to Snow Day at Walnut Hill Park.
The big hills in Walnut Hill and the two snow storms the prior weeks made it an ideal location for sledding.
Wendell Mckenney, a student at a local public school, says he enjoyed the sledding the most out of all the activities.
“My mom really likes to go to fun activities, so we thought maybe this would be a good place to go to, to have fun. We actually invited some other people to come here, too,” said Mckenney. “The sledding is very fun.”
A popular attraction at the event was the ice sculptures carved by professional sculptor, Kurt Sato. He says that he enjoys giving back to the community through his art.
“I’ve been donating time to the city of New Britain for 20 years. I do this every year for them like I did in the Winter Fest. I make different things from them, it’s fun and I enjoy it,” said Sato, who took three and a half hours to complete the sculpture.
The goal was to bring families from New Britain and neighboring towns to get out and enjoy the snow. Ronald Black, a physical education major at CCSU and staff member at the Parks and Rec Department, said the city of New Britain accomplished that goal using social media to connect to the people.
Mayor Erin Stewart posted the event on her Facebook page, which got 254 shares, 256 reactions, and 51 comments. The New Britain Parks and Recreation Department also posted the event and got 287 reactions and 327 shares.
“In the past years, we had something called Winter Fest and we didn’t always have the best turnout. Through social media, it’s been a pretty good turnout,” said Black, who has been working with the Parks and Rec Department for 13 years since, he was 16 years old. “Lots of New Britain people and I heard people from Berlin had been coming, and Newington. So, a lot of surrounding areas been coming to something that’s pretty simple.”
Black emphasized that, because there was something for everyone and the overall turnout was high, the event was a success.
“There is sledding for the kids, hot chocolate and a DJ. It’s pretty awesome,” said Black.
For further information on events in New Britain, you can visit the New Britain Parks and Recreation website at www.newbritainct.gov or visit them on their Facebook page.