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Massena Winter Carnival organizers focusing on fundraising

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MASSENA - The president of the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors says she has heard enthusiastic responses to a plan to offer geocaching, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing rather than dog sled racing on the trails at Hawkins Point during the upcoming Massena Winter Carnival.

“Everyone we’ve talked to has been very positive. They are happy they are going out on the trails,” Miriam S. Catapano said.

Ms. Catapano, the Massena Winter Carnival chairperson, said their committee opted not to have dog sled races in 2014 because of the expense and fees associated with bringing the race to the Frank S. McCullough, Jr. Hawkins Point Visitors Center and Boat Launch.

However, they’re teaming up with the Nature Center at Robert Moses State Park to provide alternative entertainment, including geocaching, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on the trails that had been used for the dog sled races.

During the geocaching, participants will travel the trail finding different locations using a GPS unit and solving riddles at the location. The event will be on-going throughout the day.

Ms. Catapano said visitors who want to take part in snowshoeing or cross-country skiing can do so at their own distance preference.

“They don’t have to do the whole length (of the trail),” she said.

Patrick Curran has donated a warming tent, and there will also be a food booth inside the visitor’s center. Organizers also plan to have horse-drawn rides, depending on the weather.

The 2014 Massena Winter Carnival, which has a theme of “Family & Friends - Winter Magic” will be held Jan. 16 to 26. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for Jan. 16, with the Massena Cup hockey tournament set for Jan. 17 and 18 at the Massena Arena.

A Kids Day will be held Jan. 18 at the Massena Community Center, along with a moonlight ski and snowshoe at the Nature Center and a Boys and Girls Club Trivia Night at the Massena Elks Lodge.

The Winter Carnival Parade through downtown Massena is scheduled for Jan. 24, followed by fireworks from Bushnell Field.

Activities on Jan. 25 include a 5K walk/run at Whalen Park and a Winter Carnival Market at Hawkins Point. Another Kids Day will be held Jan. 26 at Hawkins Point, along with closing ceremonies.

Among the new events added to the Winter Carnival schedule is a Winter Magic photo contest, which is free and open to all residents of Northern New York.

Photographers are invited to submit scenic views of the north country. Pictures must be taken within 90 miles of the town of Massena and submitted to the chamber by Jan. 10.

All photos will be on display at the chamber office, with an opportunity for the general public to vote for their favorite during normal business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office will remain open until 8 p.m. on Jan. 21.

All judging and voting must be done by 12 p.m. Jan. 23, and winners will be announced and their photos will be on display at the Hawkins Point Visitors Center on Jan. 25 and 26.

Ms. Catapano said, as they continue to add to the Winter Carnival calendar, their big push right now is fundraising.

“This week we have put intense effort into fundraising for the Winter Carnival. It’s going a little slower than last year, but we’re not unsuccessful. It is our priority this week going into next week. Our big push right now is to do fundraising. The Winter Carnival takes a lot of money,” she said.

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