December 17, 2018

Celebrate the End of Winter Today at Chester’s Spring Carnivale

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. Photo by John Stack.

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. Photo by John Stack.

CHESTER — What a winter we had! Chester’s 25th Annual Winter Carnivale had to be cancelled because of the weather on Feb. 15, but now it’s back, reborn as Spring Carnivale.

On Sunday, April 12, the picturesque small town of Chester will be filled with people cheering on ice carvers as they create beautiful sculptures from blocks of ice, while laughing at the antics of street performers and applauding a long parade of new and antique tractors being driven down Main Street by their proud owners. All that, and food, music, art, and shopping too!

Richard Daly works on his ice sculpture during the 2014 Winter Carnivale. Daly holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest time to create ice sculptures. Photo by John Stack

Richard Daly works on his ice sculpture during the 2014 Winter Carnivale. Daly holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest time to create ice sculptures. Professional ice carver Rich Daly has been a regular at Chester Carnivale through the years. He recently won the National Ice Carving Championship. Come watch his prizewinning talent in action! Photo by John Stack

The day begins at 10:30 a.m. when the carvers get started on their ice sculptures. Both professional and student ice carvers will be hard at work, demonstrating their techniques to onlookers while they try to be finished by 1 p.m. for judging.

Meanwhile, the Chester Hose Company is holding its 15th annual “Chilly Chili Cook Off” fundraiser. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., go to the Chester Hose Company Fire House at 6 High Street and pay your $5 admission so you can taste all the different chilis cooked and dished out by restaurants, caterers and fire departments. You can vote for your favorite fire department chili, favorite restaurant chili, most original chili, and best dressed chili serving table.  Beverages will be sold. All proceeds go to the Chester Hose Company.

Still hungry? There’s pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, and lots more available inside and outside the restaurants in town. Also, lemonade, popcorn, kettle corn, and cupcakes – everything to satisfy every taste.

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the 14th Annual Tractor Parade. Photo by John Stack

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the 14th Annual Tractor Parade. Photo by John Stack

Just be sure to be back out on Main Street by 2 p.m. for the 14th Annual Chester Tractor Parade. Colorful and rusty, big and small, antique and new, decorated and plain – tractors are driven through the town center in an incredibly long parade. You never knew there were so many tractors in the Connecticut River Valley!

There is no shortage of free activities to keep the whole family entertained for the day. Colorful beads and balloons will be handed out throughout town all day and face painting is available at Century 21 Heritage. The Chester Museum at The Mill will be open at no charge, offering a place to explore Chester history. A photo booth will be at Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art.

Celebrate spring at Spring Carnivale by making an origami butterfly at Connecticut River Artisans on 4 Water Street during Carnivale.

Celebrate spring at Spring Carnivale by making an origami butterfly at Connecticut River Artisans on 4 Water Street during Carnivale.

Other galleries and shops will be open, many with special events from prize drawings to origami. The Spring Street String Band, Arrowhead, will be playing from noon to 4 p.m. at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery.

Main Street will be closed to traffic. Free parking is available in the commuter lot on Rte. 148 at the foot of Route 9 and in the Roto-Frank parking lot on Inspiration Lane (exit 6) and at Greenwald Industries on Rte. 154 (212 Middlesex Avenue). (Follow the signs.) All lots will be served by courtesy shuttle buses to the town center.

For more information, go to facebook.com/chesterctwintercarnivale or https://finditinchesterct.wordpress.com/

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