Left to right, Mia Vidrio, Ka’Lise Benson and Ilona Russell show off their henna tattoos. (Photo by Amanda Schroth)

Families gathered for a variety of activities, games and shows at the 34th Annual Colchester Winter Carnival at Colchester High this weekend.

Hosted by Colchester Parks & Recreation, the community event stretched over the weekend starting with the Colchester’s Got Talent! show on Friday night and ending with open skating at Leddy Park on Sunday.

Friday’s talent show featured 32 different acts. Individuals and groups were encouraged to perform. Addie Bauerly won first place in the youth division (grades K-4) for her dance to “True Colors,” and Jennifer Martel placed first in the junior division (grades 5-8) for singing “I Have Nothing.”

The top high school performers were Elysia Way & Grace Carroll, who sang and played piano to the classic “At Last.” And the Chuck Bonfire Band, made up of Gerhard, Derek and Sean Meyers, placed first in the adult and family division for the instrumental “Thunderhead.” See full results in the box at right.

Saturday was an all-day spectacular, starting at 8:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast with the Lion’s Club. For only $7, families got access to all the events offered. Kids got their faces painted, henna tattooed on their hands and airbrushed with designs.

In the gymnasium, they found two large bouncy houses and laser tag. Outside, there were pony rides, horse-drawn carriages and the Snowzilla, a large inflatable slide.

“It’s really a great community event. It’s a chance to see my students having fun outside of the classroom,” said Kelley DesLauriers, a paraprofessional at Porters Point School. She has volunteered at the carnival for 10 years.

Annabel Kos, 3, rides one of the ponies from Harvest Moon Valley Ranch at the 34th Annual Colchester Winter Carnival last weekend. (Photo by Amanda Schroth)

Annabel Kos, 3, rides one of the ponies from Harvest Moon Valley Ranch at the 34th Annual Colchester Winter Carnival last weekend. (Photo by Amanda Schroth)

This year’s theme was “Around the World,” which allowed kids to fill out a passport of activities featured throughout the carnival. Kids were asked to identify five of the flags hanging in the hallways, place pins marking their family roots on a map and read international books. For each completed activity, they got a stamp in their passport. When finished, kids could enter them for a chance to win several grand prizes.

Albany College of Pharmacy, the Vermont campus in Colchester, assisted with creating the passports and volunteers at the event.

Kids also got balloon animals, played in The Big Blue Trunk of toys or rode a bike from City Market that powered a blender to make smoothies.

The annual event funds itself each year, using the proceeds from the previous year’s ticket sales along with support from more than 28 businesses and volunteers, including The Colchester Sun.

This year’s Winter Carnival Committee consisted of DesLauriers, Renee Barrett, Ronny Cummings, Kathy LaRoche, Mary Beth Mooney and Tiera Porter.

Matt Lapan, marketing and recreation specialist at Colchester Parks & Rec, encourages anyone interested in volunteering on the committee to call his office at 264-5648.