February 07, 2010

Beautiful weather greeted artists and athletes alike for the sixth annual Smith Park Winter Gala. With cabin fever taking its toll on many here in Menasha this was just the excuse hundreds of people needed to get out and enjoy the fresh air and see their friends that have been hidden away inside for the past few months.

The venue couldn't have been more inviting, the aroma chili and hot cocoa lofted from the Memorial Building's gracious colonnade welcoming everyone inside. Smith Park layered with a dusting of new fallen snow from earlier in the week beckoned skier's, sculptor's, and golfer's alike.

The fourth year of sculpting drew 12 local teams carving 4'x4'x6' blocks of snow including R2D2, a bulldog, a pelican, hearts, a pumpkin, and a giant scrubbing bubble. Jeff Olson and two other professional carvers created five sculptures including King Tut, a motorcycle, and a Green Bay Packer (especially for this super bowl weekend).

The sixth annual Frozen Flamingo Open drew numerous contestants. Competitors in three classes competed for coveted pink flamingo trophies on this four hole course. Teeing off was a challenge with a tennis ball, especially when they bounced, par was not the average score. We don't think any balls were lost in the rough however.

Cross Country Skiing was more popular than ever with well over 20 taking lessons. We hope to see these enthusiasts return as the trails at both Smith Park and the Menasha Conservancy are groomed throughout the winter.

Once inside kids were treated to tall tales and stories by a Menasha librarian. The Menasha Historical Society opened its museum for the day to the delight of many who learned about the history of the area. The biggest draw however was the chili and cocoa. Thanks to both Germania Hall and Mihms for providing the chili, well over six gallons of chili were served in just over two hours.

This event is another example of the generosity of the people of our community. The volunteer efforts of the Doty Island Development Council and donations from area businesses in conjunction with our Park and Rec department and library make an events like this possible.



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