January 2011

JANUARY 2011: Our Town - Snow Daze

Author: David Tobias

Once upon a time, in the middle of a very peculiar winter “Way Up North,” the people who usually bundle themselves against the wintry cold ran out of snow. It had been warmer than usual—above freezing well into January—and hadn’t even been cold enough to make ice on the lakes. Children were sad and parents were sadder still because they needed great big ice blocks to build an ice castle for the Queen of the Snows.

“No snow is just not right,” said the people and their kids, and they decided to find ice and snow no matter what. So they gathered heavy-duty machinery—front-end loaders, ice cutters and tractor trailers—and drove them hundreds of miles into the frozen tundra of Canada to get some ice to build the ice castle and make folks feel like they were having a normal winter.

Some people think they’re weird Way Up North. Thank goodness that kind of stuff doesn’t happen here.

Or does it?

If you really like the idea of imported snow on a January day, regardless of the weather, mark your calendars for Saturday, January 22. That’s when a couple of 18-wheelers, packed with ice from who-knows-where, are scheduled to arrive at Shelter Cove Community Park, and a couple of burly guys from Georgia, of all places, will start pitching big blocks of ice into a chipper attached to a blow hose to make…presto—SNOW!

This innovative version of a Way Up North fairytale has been happening each year in mid-January since 2006, when Frank Soule, Hilton Head Island Rec Center executive director, discovered one of Hilton Head’s neighbors enjoying snow in the middle of winter and asked, “Why not us?”

Each year since, on a Saturday in mid-January, kids “of all ages” have enjoyed homemade snow, blown out on a snowfield patch about 20 by 25 feet. On January 22, you can bet there will be angels made and snowballs thrown, and wearing waterproof boots, hats and gloves would be a really good idea. The event has drawn nearly 2,500 kids and their parents each of the last several years.

But it’s not all about the snow. About a dozen inflatable rides will also be available, a DJ will coordinate party games, and concessions will include hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows.

The event takes place from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost is $10 per child over the age of 2. Parents are admitted free.

Call the Island Rec Center at 843.681.7273 for more information.

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