102nd Newport Winter Carnival kicks offBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent February 08. 2018 10:08PM
NEWPORT — The 102nd Newport Winter Carnival kicked off Thursday morning and runs through Sunday, with events scheduled throughout each day and throughout the town.
The first morning of the carnival started with a Pickle Ball Tournament in Wheeler Gym followed in the late morning with the American Legion Table Tennis Tournament at Newport Recreation Department.
“This is the best group of players I think they’ve ever had,” said Buzz Kanakis, 96, of Newport, who has been a ping pong player since he was 88.
These indoor activities are a staple of the carnival, organizer and Recreation Director P.J. Lovely said while competing in the ping pong tournament Thursday morning. The ping pong tournament was added to the carnival three years ago and draws in a mostly senior group who play ping pong at the Newport Recreation Center and the Claremont Senior Center throughout the year, usually twice a week.
“We started at the 100th winter carnival three years ago, it’s been a blast,” Lovely said. “It’s a great indoor addition. With Mother Nature you’ve got to make events that aren’t so weather dependent.”
Mother Nature, however, did pull through this year, Lovely said, with a foot of snow on Wednesday.
“We didn’t have any snow until last night,” he said.
Because of the snow, organizers added a ski jump competition to the list of events. It will be held on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
“We got a ton of snow for a ski jump and any snow events we have planned,” Lovely said. “We’re pretty lucky. We got a foot of snow, which was great. And that always helps it gets the atmosphere up a little bit and gets people excited about winter.”
The weather should also be warm enough for people to enjoy outdoor events like the parades.
The biggest event is always the Winter Carnival Queen’s Pageant. The 102nd pageant is planned for Friday night at the Newport Opera House. It will be followed by ice skating on the town common from 10 p.m. to midnight.
“Other than that it’s a lot of old school winter activities we’ve been doing for 20 years,” Lovely said. “The community comes out and eats a little bit, plays a little bit in the snow and has fun together.”
For a full list of events go online to http://www.newportwintercarnival.org.