Editor's note: This event has been postponed to Saturday, Jan. 25.
After two years off, the Newburyport Winter Carnival is set to make its return to the Bartlet Mall this weekend.
“Sharpen your skates up,” said David Keery, the former Newburyport parks commissioner.
Keery, a member of the Frog Pond Skating Club, was part of a group that cleared the pond’s ice with the use of an all-terrain vehicle and tractor over the past week.
“We are really thrilled that the snow that we got was so light that we were able to clear it off,” he said. “We were able to push pretty much all of it off the pond just in time for the rain to Zamboni the ice for us.”
Sidelined by warm weather in 2012 and a blizzard in 2013, the carnival will once again make good use of the mall’s Frog Pond for all-day open skating, sledding and snowboarding. This year, it looks like the skating will be a big draw.
“It’s going to be nice ice,” said Lise Reid, parks administrator for the Newburyport Parks Commission. “There is a lot of snow gone. We are working on creating a sledding hill by importing snow. We’re not sure what will be here, but we know we will have ice.”
Perhaps the carnival’s biggest highlight is the Human Dog Sled Race, which features teams of four people or less (the dogs) who pull one team member (the driver) in a race with the other teams across the pond. Currently in its fifth year, the race is quite a fan favorite.
“It’s open to all ages,” Reid said. “We’ve had kids. We’ve had people show up with metal cleats on. It’s always lots of fun, and you never really know who is going to win. That year we had the guys with the cleats on, I thought for sure that they would win, but some kids won. It’s always a big surprise.”