by TaLeiza Calloway – [email protected]
It was a sunny and crisp Minnesota day at Centennial Park last weekend in St. Joseph. Temperatures neared the 20s and a towering sledding hill was in full use by those attending Joetown Snowtown.
This was the first year the St. Joseph Park Board hosted the winter event in partnership with local sponsors. Those who came were glad they did. Park Board Chair John Anderson was pleased with the weather during the event.
“It’s a great day for it,” Anderson said. “Whether you hold an event in the summer or the winter, it’s always dependent on the weather.”
Marc Van Herr works at Kay’s Kitchen in St. Joseph. He recently discovered the sledding hill in Centennial Park and stumbled upon Joetown Snowtown with his 4-year-old daughter, Sophia. She enjoyed playing in the snow and has a pretty good arm for throwing snowballs – but only at her dad.
“This was a bonus,” Van Herr said. “It’s nice to have this daddy-daughter time.”
Dave Landry of St. Joseph lives a few blocks away from Centennial. He brought his daughter Britta, 8, and son Jensin, 3, to test out the sledding hill for the first time. Britta also tried snowshoeing for the first time, too. Jensin was content making snow angels.
Sledding is always a fun activity for the Collett family of St. Joseph.
“We come here every year,” Kelly Motschke-Collett said. “It’s a blast.”
The height of the hill was not a deterrent for 5-year-old Shane Collett. The outdoor activity was one word to him: “F-U-N,” he said before running back up the hill for another ride.
In addition to sledding, festivities included skating races and snowshoeing during the day and a chili-tasting event in the evening. Blake Hawker, 8, of St. Joseph, was keen on showing off his hockey moves on the ice. His sister, Keardyn, 10, also a veteran skater, competed in the skate races with friend Samantha Webb, 12, of Sartell. Webb said she has been ice skating since she was 5.
“It’s really a lot of fun,” Webb said of the event. “I learned how to skate from my grandpa.”
Webb said she comes to Centennial Park often with her grandparents. She liked the idea of seeing how fast she could skate through the cones Feb. 16.
Jodi Keehr, the newest appointed member of the St. Joseph Park Board, was glad to see the board host the winter event. The sun was an added plus to the vibes of the day, she said.
“I like to be outdoors during winter,” Keehr said. “You can’t always do that. It’s good to have events like this.”
Despite low attendance, Keehr said it was a good start to a future tradition. Anderson said the park board hopes to partner with St. Joseph Recreation to host a summer event with family activities. As he looks ahead, he still would have liked to have seen more people show up.
“I’m a little underwhelmed with the attendance, but it’s the first year,” Anderson said. “We’ll learn from our mistakes and next year will be bigger and better.”