Despite three different winter weather warnings, temperatures in the single digits, and winds in the 20-mph range, scores of Lake Country kids and adults went out and played in the snow at winter events in Lisbon and Sussex over the weekend.
About 100 people showed up for sledding, ice skating and cross-country skiing at the fourth annual Winter Fest at Lisbon Community Park on Saturday, according to Park Superintendent John Greiten.
Another estimated 30 to 40 people attended the annual sledding party at the Village Park Lions Shelter and sledding hill in Sussex, also Saturday, according to Parks and Recreation Director Sasha Snapp.
"When you consider the weather and the number of people who turned out for the sledding party, we were pretty pleased," Snapp added.
"Maybe it is because the weather has been so crappy. Everyone may have decided that there is no sense in waiting until it gets better; they might as well get out and have some fun," Snapp added.
While the sledding party has been going on in Sussex for more than a decade, Winter Fest is a relatively new event at L:Lisbon Community Park.
Friends and families were bundled up in their warmest winter gear as they stood around the bonfire or huddled in an enclosed shelter, where the food and refreshments were served, both located between the ice skating rink and the sledding hill on the lower level at the north end of the park along the Bark River.
The sledding hill was in nearly perfect condition with an icy glaze over the top of a thin layer of snow, allowing youngsters on all sorts of sledding devices to zoom down the hill and across much of the lower level of the 125-acre park. The fun the kids were having prompted a conspiracy among adults that resulted in what Greiten later described as the first annual town tarp slide.
Former Town Supervisor Dan Fischer had brought a tarp. Greiten, with encouragement from Supervisor Hannah Heinritz, came up with idea that all of the town officials in attendance should ride the tarp down the hill. They all survived the ride. Greiten said next year he will have a bigger tarp.
Greiten later said he was surprised and pleased by the turnout. Two other town officials corroborated his attendance estimate.
"I did not get here until 2:30 p.m., and I would say there was somewhere between 50 and 75 people here. John has been here since before 1 p.m., so his estimate is probably pretty close," said Park Board member Ed Nelson.
"I have spent most of my time here. When I first came in here, in the place was packed," said Supervisor Joe Osterman, who spent much of the afternoon in the enclosed shelter.
Both events have been plagued by poor conditions in the past three years. Sussex has twice had to postpone its event because of a lack of snow. Two years ago, Greiten hauled snow from one end of the Lisbon park to another and constructed a makeshift sled run.
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