February 07. 2018 11:12PM

Derry prepares for 19th annual Frost Festival

By CHRIS GAROFOLO
Union Leader Correspondent


The Ice Breakers of Manchester show off characters from The Lion King during the 2017 Frost Festival in Derry. The team will again appear in front of the Adams Memorial Opera House in downtown Derry on Friday to create and carve new Willy Wonka-themed ice sculptures. (COURTESY PHOTO)

DERRY — The latest wintry mix that hammered southern New Hampshire this week shouldn’t hinder the spirits of those organizing Derry’s Frost Festival.

In fact, a touch of snow could flawlessly assimilate into the weekend of winter activities.

The 19th annual Frost Festival begins Friday afternoon featuring ice sculptures at the Adams Memorial Opera House and continues through Sunday at Hoodkroft Golf Course with snowmobile rides, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Eric Bodenrader, director of the town’s Parks & Recreation Department, said the three-day festival is filled with family-friendly activities and most of the scheduled events are free.

“It’s fun to see people come together for an annual, family-style winter carnival,” he said. “It’s a great collaboration to see the businesses and some of the civic organizations come together just simply to have a free family weekend — that was the whole point.”

In past years, the weekend has attracted as many as 1,000 participants.

The festivities begin at noon on Friday with the Manchester-based Ice Breakers carving ice sculptures downtown, all of which will tie in with the “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” theme.

This Is My Derry, a town-centric organization run by local business owner Andy Day, is sponsoring a special viewing of the classic film based on the Roald Dahl children's novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” at the opera house.

Admission is free with a receipt from any sponsoring business purchase between Jan. 14 until Friday afternoon.

Before the start of the movie, the Derry Village Rotary Club will host its spaghetti supper beginning at 5 p.m. at the Pinkerton Academy Senior Cafeteria. Admission is $1 per person, or free with a donation of a canned good.

On Saturday, a series of Derry Public Library’s puppet shows will begin at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Hall at 31 West Broadway, with a Wildlife Encounters program concluding the events at the Parks and Recreation facility.

From 1-3 p.m., Midguard Comics at Hood Commons will host a variety of free children’s games and activities, including a coloring contest, a balloon artist, face-painting, and crafts sponsored by Macaroni Kids.

The majority of the outdoor winter events will take place across three locations on Sunday.

Alexander-Carr Park, located at 28 Pierce Ave., will have sledding from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a bonfire beginning at noon.

Other special events and activities will run throughout the day, including arts and crafts, face-painting and the Frost Festival King & Queen Contest sponsored by Miss Greater Derry. Registration is from 2-3 p.m. on site.

Open hockey and skating is scheduled from 12 to 3 p.m. at Gallien’s Town Beach on Beaver Lake, located on Pond Road, as well as a chili contest sponsored by the Beaver Lake Association. Residents are asked to bring their own skates and hockey equipment.

Finally, the Derry Pathfinders Snowmobile Club will offer rides, complete with safety information and demonstrations from 12 to 4 p.m. at Hoodkroft Golf Course.

At the same time, Benson’s Ski & Sport will have free use of equipment for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, with instructors on hand to provide basic instruction.

For those looking to warm up, the Culinary Playground is sponsoring a cookie decorating session from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Hoodkroft Country Club, while supplies last.

“All these events are fantastic; there’s something for everyone,” said Josh Bourdon, chairman of the Derry Town Council, on Tuesday night. “It’s a tremendous time.”

Bodenrader said a finalized version of the schedule will appear today on the town recreation department website (https://www.derrynh.org/parks-recreation) and the department’s Facebook page once organizers have a better idea of the weekend weather.

“We’re still working on some of the last-minute kinks; we’re waiting to see what Mother Nature does and also looking ahead at the weekend’s forecast,” he said. “By Thursday, there will definitively be a finalized, revised if need-be list of activities just in case we do have to switch things around.”

For more information or the latest updates, find Frost Festival Derry on Facebook.