NAPLES – Last weekend, the Naples Winter Carnival started with a bang Friday night with fireworks on the causeway.

“Attendance was great for the fireworks,” said event organizer Dan Allen. “There were no parking spaces available on or near the causeway. It was a really incredible turnout.”

Friday night’s crowd helped offset the rest of the weekend that showed a significantly fewer number of carnival-goers than previous years.

“Due to the fact that we had to reschedule, we lost a lot of vendors,” said Allen. “We didn’t have the kid’s carnival, or the helicopter rides, but I think we did pretty good considering.”

The carnival was originally supposed to take place Feb. 8-9, but due to a big storm, organizers postponed the event for a week.

“Not much we could do,” said Allen. “Mother Nature wins every time.”

Events included the Snowmobile Radar Runs, a bouncy house for kids, antique snowmobile displays, a bonfire and vendors offering hot snacks and drinks.

One reveler brought an antique sleigh to traverse the snowy ice.

“I’m not really sure what you call this,” said Norm Dyer of Steep Falls. “I guess it’s a kick sled. I used to see them a lot when I was growing up and always wanted one. When I had the chance to get one, I did. It’s kind of fun.”

Dyer was not the only one who was fascinated by the sled; he spent a good portion of the day giving rides to children that had never seen a “chair on a sled” before.

“It’s neat,” said Adison Keefe, 8, of Naples that got a ride from Dyer.

Despite the scheduling of events, poor ice conditions, and below-freezing temperatures, Allen said the event was a success.

“I’d say we had a few thousand people here throughout the weekend,” said Allen. “We had a good time.”

Katie Johnson, 21 months, at right, jumps around inside the bouncy house at the Naples Winter Carnival. Johnson came from Massachusetts with her mother Jen Johnson to enjoy the carnival.?
Photos by Heidi Hamblen

Preston Randall, 4, of Hiram, smiles after competing in a kid’s version of the Radar Run at the Naples Winter Carnival. “He did pretty good for his first time,” said Preston’s mother, Allyson Randall.
Devin Reinhard, 11, of Naples, gets ready for his second Radar Run at the Naples Winter Carnival’s Radar Run on Saturday. Reinhard didn’t win, but was glad he was able to race. “I have always wanted to do it,” he said. “It was pretty fun.” 

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