Despite weather setbacks, kids enjoy winter games in Ellsworth

Posted Feb. 16, 2013, at 3:30 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Children sledded on custom-made cardboard rigs and careened down the ice rink as human bowling balls Saturday at Ellsworth Winter Carnival, which went on as planned despite uncooperative weather.

A handful of children and their families reported dutifully for a cardboard sled race at Woodlawn Museum, where inaugural runs on homemade sleds shaped like trucks and snowmobiles quickly made way for a casual downhill free-for-all on run-of-the-mill plastic sleds and disks.

Events were rescheduled for Saturday after last week’s blizzard, but a week of mostly warm weather meant less than ideal conditions on the sledding hill and in the rink. Dawn Hudson, the carnival’s organizer, said the idea of postponing the events for a second time — the original date was Feb. 2 — wasn’t an option.

“The first postponement was tough enough,” she said. “We really wanted to be here so that kids who made cardboard sleds could show them off and use them.”

Temperatures earlier in the day hovered just above freezing, making the ice rink in Knowlton Park usable for “human bowling,” but not safe for skating, which was canceled.

Around noon, several kids turned out for the bowling event, during which they were pushed down the rink on a plastic saucer, and tried to knock over as many water cooler bottles as they could on the way.

Thomas Hilton, a second-grade student at Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School, was bowled down the ice at least a dozen times. He described his strategy:

“It’s just to put your arms out. That helps a lot,” he said.

Turnout may have been low, but it was clear the children — and grownups — who did attend were enjoying themselves. And as the afternoon progressed, it even began to snow.

“The weather has really not been cooperative,” Hudson said. “But at least it’s not raining. We’re grateful for that.”

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.