By Dave Rogers
---- — The approaching blizzard has prompted the cancellation and postponement of local events planned for this weekend.
Newburyport Winter Carnival at Bartlet Mall on Saturday has been canceled. Organizers say should the storm produce the amount of snow expected, the city's streets will need to be kept clear of cars so the Department of Public Services can clear snow and maintain access for emergency vehicles. They say holding an event at the Bartlet Mall would pose unsafe conditions for event-goers and work crews alike. Organizers have not been successful in finding a suitable postponement date due to scheduling conflicts and the limited availability of DPS crews, who could be tied up all weekend with storm cleanup work.
The city Parks Commission, however, is encouraging residents to enjoy the Bartlet Mall as soon as conditions clear and it is safe to do so. And Newburyport Youth Services has volunteered to help with a skate night or two before the season is out that will feature hot cocoa provided by the Instiution for Savings and potentially other Winter Carnival sponsors. Dates will be announced.
Merrimack River Eagle Festival has been canceled. While organizers had hoped to still hold the annual Merrimack River Eagle Festival in some format, as forecasts grew worse yesterday morning, they decided to cancel the entire festival for this year.
"It just doesn't make sense, we want everyone to be safe," said Melissa Vokey, a manager at Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center. The festival is hosted each year by Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.
As the two organizations look ahead to next year's festival - already set for Feb. 8, 2014, Vokey said people hoping to still spy an eagle this winter can always call Joppa Flats and get tips for good vantage points, or attend of one their eagle tours or programs. Many of the Eagle Festival "hot spots" are open to the public all year, she added.
"They can always call us and get advice on how to get out and see eagles," Vokey said.
Amesbury Public Schools will be closed on Friday.
Newburyport Public Schools will be closed Friday.
Triton Regional School District will be closed Friday.
Pentucket Regional School District will be closed Friday.
Newburyport District Court and Ipswich District Courts will close at noon Friday.
Sparhawk School in Amesbury is canceled on Friday.
Newburyport onstreet parking ban is in effect starting at 6 p.m. Friday. Due to the duration and severity of this storm this ban is indefinite. The blue lights will go on around noon to give everyone ample notice of the ban.Ticketing will begin promptly at 6 p.m. and towing will begin at 8 p.m. Due to the anticipated severity of the blizzard, officials said it is urgent that the roads be clear.
The Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport has canceled the two performances by Tom Rush on Saturday. The concerts will be rescheduled.
The Belleville Roots Music Series has canceled the Mardi Gras concert for Friday night. The concert, featuring Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys Concert will be moved to Friday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. at Belleville Congregational Church on High Street. Tickets will be honored at the door or refunds will be available at the Belleville office until noon on Wednesday, Feb. 20. Refunds may also be obtained by mailing tickets to Belleville Roots, 300 High Street, Newburyport with a self-addressed stamped envelope. Tickets must arrive by mail to the church by Wednesday, Feb. 20.
Amesbury Democratic Caucus has been rescheduled from Saturday to next Saturday, Feb. 16, at 9:30 a.m. in City Hall Auditorium, 62 Friend St.
Jewell Towne Vineyards has rescheduled the Valentine's Day chocolate and wine tasting to next Saturday, Feb. 16 from noon to 4 p.m.
Salisbury's Old County Road Drop-off Recycling Center will be closed on Saturday,
Newburyport High School Theatre Department has canceled this weekend's performances of "Noises Off" on Friday and Saturday. It will add two shows to the performance schedule next week on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. The 7 p.m. shows on Thuesday, Feb. 14, and Friday, Feb. 15, will go on as planned. All pre-sold tickets will be honored for any performance next week.
Austin Preparatory School in Reading has postponed the ACT College Board Test scheduled for Saturday to next Saturday, Feb. 16.