Snowflake Days wraps up 50th anniversary

Diane Buszta was concise in her reaction to the 50th anniversary Coon Rapids Snowflake Days celebration, which wrapped up Sunday – “fantastic.”

Buszta has been president of the Coon Rapids Snowflake Association for the past 11 years. “It was by far the best attended and most successful Snowflake Days in my 11 years as president,” she said.

The start of the Coon Rapids Snowflake Days 5K cross-country ski tour event at the Bunker Hills Golf Course Sunday. Photos by Peter Bodley

The start of the Coon Rapids Snowflake Days 5K cross-country ski tour event at the Bunker Hills Golf Course Sunday. Photos by Peter Bodley

“The community really stepped up.”

According to Buszta, she hopes the energy that was present in the planning for the 2014 Snowflake Days will spill over to next year’s celebration.

Committee members are already planning events for 2015 and want to make Snowflake Days bigger and better, Buszta said.

Longtime community volunteer John Leggate was reluctant to accept the title of marquis for the 2014 Snowflake Days celebration, he said. “But it was quite a year and a lot more fun than I ever thought,” Leggate said.

Indeed, Leggate made it a point to visit all 20-plus events that took place during the four-week run of the celebration, which began Jan. 23 and continued through Feb. 16.

The final weekend began with the Valentine’s Day Sno Ball Dance at the Coon Rapids Civic Center, which featured hors d’oeuvres, punch and coffee, as well as a cash bar, and dancing to the music of The Tony Garry Band.

There were 140 people in attendance at the dance, according to Buszta.

And for the children’s carnival at Sand Creek Elementary School Saturday morning, there was a crowd of some 200, Buszta said.

That’s the largest number in the many years that the children’s carnival, which had a magic show, games, crafts and refreshments, has been part of Snowflake Days, she said.

The last day of the 2014 Snowflake Days Feb. 16 had two events, one on the Bunker Hills Golf Course and the other in the Bunker Hills Clubhouse.

Inside the PGA Hall of Fame room at the clubhouse, the Coon Rapids Arts Commission hosted a Snowflake Days Arts Expo, with entries in the children’s art contest on display.

The contest was open to all children in Coon Rapids, according to Mary Ann Kehn, arts commission chairperson.

There were only entries in the grade three through five category and the winner, who was picked by the Snowflake Days Committee, was Kaelyn Sauter, a fourth-grader at University Avenue Elementary School. Her prize was a $25 Target gift certificate.

Out on the golf course, which has groomed cross country ski trails, the Coon Rapids High School Nordic ski team put on a cross-country skiing event, which included ski lessons by Nordic ski team members, an individual sprint race and a non-competitive 5K ski tour through the woods.

Some 30 people signed up for the ski tour, while a dozen, mostly adults, took lessons from the ski team and a dozen took part in the sprint race.

Those that took lessons were paired with their instructors for the ski tour.

Winners of the sprint races were presented with trophies – Katie Kiecker, overall female winner and also winner of the 17 and over female category; David Mathews, overall male winner; Ryan Nelson, male 17 and over; Myles Gilyard, male 12-14 age group; Lilah Gilyard, female 11 and under; and Nick Petroff, male 11 and under.

The Coon Rapids High School Nordic ski team comprises 48 boys and girls, grades seven through 12.

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