Carp Winter Carnival a cold comfort

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

Kids watch maple taffy get made.
Caldwell’s Maple Holme Sugar Farm had kids excitedly waiting for maple taffy. Photo by Jake Davies

CARP – The Huntley Community Association (HCA) revived the Carp Winter Carnival in 2020. It was the last public gathering the association hosted before the onslaught of COVID-19 just weeks after the carnival.

The HCA cancelled the event in 2021, but were keeping their eye on 2022 even as they made the announcement. Well, the HCA was a week off, but last Friday (Feb. 25) and Saturday (Feb. 26), the revival of the Carp Winter Carnival returned for its second year, and the expanded carnival was another hit in the community.

A frosty Friday night, and perfect winter conditions Saturday, had the Carp community and beyond enjoying the food and fun of the carnival following two years of community-separating COVID-19 protocols.

“It was a great couple of days,” HCA board member and Carp native Wanda Clark told West Carleton Online today (Feb. 28). “People really enjoyed themselves.”

The weekend involved lots of skating on the outdoor rink, a bonfire, sleigh rides courtesy Lyle Killeen, maple taffy cooled right on the snow courtesy Caldwell’s Maple Holme Sugar Farm, the mighty snow worm, bacon on a bun, a spaghetti dinner, the and much more.

“I really enjoyed the kids’ games,” Clark said. “Watching the egg race, the kids were so worried about losing their egg off their spoons, I think they forgot it was a race. I laughed my butt off; they were so funny.”

There were also musical chairs on the rink too.

“There were old-timey games and the kids loved them,” Clark said.

Just outside the rink was a well-maintained bonfire that became a hub for the adults to chat and catch up.

The food was also popular. On Saturday morning, breakfast at the Huntley Community Centre was a sell-out.

A photo of a sleigh ride.
Lyle Killeen was providing sleigh rides around the ball fields. Photo by Jake Davies

“Well over 100 bacon-on-a-buns made,” Clark said. “We sold out.”

And that night’s take-out spaghetti dinner was also a hit. Clark said the volunteers made more than 86 dinners.

“We had never done that before,” Clark said of the HCA’s take-out meal. “It was a full day and a fun day.”

Guessing the weekend the HCA would be able to hold its winter carnival on a year out, during a pandemic, and only being a week off, is pretty impressive, but the association actually changed the date closer to the event when in looked like the province would be opening up again.

A photo of seniors enjoying bacon on a bun.
Residents of Carp Commons took a trip up to the carnival to enjoy bacon on a bun. Photo by Jake Davies

“We did have plans for the week before, but we shifted plans with things opening up,” Clark said. “And we got lucky. It rained the weekend before and Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day. I’m really proud of the crew. We stayed in our lanes and got the job done.”

And the job was a lot bigger this year because the carnival took place over two days instead of one like it did in 2020.

“We really liked the size, it worked our really well,” Clark said.

And now the HCA is ready to keep bringing events to the community, a job the HCA is literally built to do, as the world slowly recovers from the pandemic.

“We’re just chomping at the bit and more things are coming,” Clark said.

Clark says the HCA is hoping to bring back music, cards, games, and other events and recommends carnival-goers hold on to their ‘I Love Carp’ buttons, a fun souvenir the HCA expects will be able to be used for further discounts at future HCA events.

A photo of people gathered around a bonfire,
MPP Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, centre, chats with volunteers around the fire. Photo by Jake Davies


Hockey players shake hands after a game.
Carnival-goers took in West Carleton Outdoor Hockey League games Saturday morning. Here players shake hands after a game. Photo by Jake Davies
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