By Julie Huss
---- — The fresh snow put smiles on lots of faces at Derry’s annual Frost Festival and Londonderry’s Musquash Field Day.
Last weekend was a big draw for families and nature lovers coming out to enjoy the annual winter events.
Some past years have not been as kind.
For many of its 15 years, the Frost Festival saw little snow and many outdoor sporting events were canceled.
This year, organizers did a snow dance and it appeared to work.
“This year we’re lucky we have plenty of snow,” Derry Recreation staff member Nicole Ferrante said.
She said ice conditions for the scheduled weekend ice fishing demonstrations and hockey were perfect, with about 14 inches of ice on the town’s lakes and ponds.
Crews spent the end of the week preparing for the weekend festival, clearing snow off the ice at Hood Pond and Gallien’s Beach.
Ferrante said several past Frost Festival years were not as successful. This year everything was in place for a perfect winter outing.
“Some years were difficult with no snow,” she said.
Derry recreation director Eric Bodenrader said this year’s Frost Festival schedule remained intact, thanks to some last minute snow on Saturday.
“This is the first year in many that we were able to do everything,” he said.
The only event canceled due to weather was the senior citizen spaghetti supper Friday night.
There was a big crowd at all Derry venues where Frost Festival activities were underway. Sunday was the biggest event, with several inches of new snow from the previous night adding to the wintry mix.
Bodenrader said his crews were all set for the weekend, but then Saturday’s storm came through. It made for some last-minute work to clear ice rinks and other areas in time for the big day Sunday.
“It was a Herculean effort by everyone,” he said.
Hoodkroft golf course was popular with people wanting to get a free snowmobile rides or try some cross-country skiing across the snow-covered greens.
At Gallien’s Beach, it was ice fishing and chili for everyone.
In Londonderry, the annual Musquash Conservation Day also had a good turnout this year, making those who love the town’s trails happy.
More than 100 people came out Saturday for the 22nd annual event. They enjoyed nature walks, snowshoeing, a bonfire and scavenger hunt.
The day in Londonderry was hosted jointly by the Conservation Commission and University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Extension.
That day is planned every year with winter in mind, officials say, but is held with or without snow on the ground.
People also enjoyed snowshoeing at J & F Farms in Derry for an FFA-hosted event. Students participating in the FFA program were among those enjoying the brisk day.
“I totally love all the winter sports,” Kenzie Pepper of Chester said.
Her friend Michelle Decker, also of Chester, was ready to snowshoe, but dreamed of spring.
“It feels like this winter just keeps going and going,” she said. “It’s my first year of high school and I now have to walk a lot in it.”
There may be a light at the end of the winter tunnel for those dreaming of the beach or warm, sunny days with a lobster roll in hand.
A Derry landmark, Clam Haven, posted its sign over the weekend, inviting everyone to come by on opening day March 12.