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Turkey Bowling, Komi Kon highlight 23rd annual Akwesasne Winter Carnival

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AKWESASNE - Participants will be knocking down bowling pins with frozen turkeys, making delicious pancakes, and taking part in a Scrabble tournament this weekend in an effort to take home grand prizes at a combined value of more than $2,000 at the 23rd annual Akwesasne Winter Carnival.

The event, hosted this year by TsiSnaihne Recreation, begins today and concludes Sunday afternoon with the closing ceremonies at the recreation center.

This year’s coordinator, Allison “Mae” Lazore-Green, noted that the festivities are primarily arranged by the Winter Carnival Committee and a different district is chosen to host it each year.

“Every year it gets passed around and this year we are hosting it,” Ms. Lazore-Green said. “It’s going to be pretty busy this year. This year we are spreading things out. There are things going on at the Snye School, the adult rec center and Homemakers. It is spread out but not very far, about five minutes is the farthest. We have so many events that we couldn’t fit everything in the recreation center.”

All events are free to the public, while attendees are encouraged to collect tickets at each activity to try and increase their chances of winning a grand prize.

The primary grand prize is a family trip to Six Flags Great Escape Indoor Park and is valued at approximately $1,200. A Wii U Family Fitness Package, as well as gift certificates and gift cards are also up for grabs.

As a precursor to the carnival, a fishing derby was held last weekend and will conclude on Saturday.

Ms. Lazore-Green noted that there are both new and old activities to look forward to this year.

“We’ve never done Turkey Bowling before. It is bowling at pins while you are using a frozen turkey. We also have an obstacle challenge course that is new,” she said. “The Ace to King (tournament) is a card game and that has been big in the past. We are also doing the log sawing (contest.) They saw the logs and are timed. Also the Scrabble tournament has been an annual thing.”

All of today’s events take place at the Lakhihsohtha Lodge, beginning with a snowflake gathering at 1 p.m.

The obstacle course challenge occurs from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Snye Recreation ball field, while the log sawing and turkey bowling happen at the recreation center from 3 to 5 p.m.

A Komi Kon event, as well as a Lego display take place from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Snye School, and both are highly anticipated gatherings, according to Ms. Lazore-Green.

“The Komi Kon and the Lego display on Saturday should be big events. There were 200 people who attended Komi Kon last year, and we are expecting about 500 this year,” she said. “Usually things are well attended and everything turns out the way we expected.”

One of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s district chiefs, Brian David, feels that the carnival is a good event for young and old alike.

“The Akwesasne Winter Carnival has proven to be a solid tradition in this community that many look forward to. There is truly something for all ages, and it is nice to see all the hard volunteer work that goes into putting an event together that is just for fun,” Mr. David said.

“MCA employees have been allowed to take part in the carnival events during work hours as a way to improve wellness throughout the organization and support community involvement. Each year there is a Battle Royale (featuring broomball, tug-o-war and other challenges) between employees from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (the community’s northern or ‘Canadian’ government) and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (the southern or ‘American’ government.)

“This friendly but fierce competition is just one of the many carnival events that bring community members together and remind them that Akwesasne is one community regardless of borders, jurisdictions, or governing bodies,” he said.

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