Berkeley celebrates 10th annual ‘Snow Day’

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Ten tons of man-made snow covered the ground on the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Rose Street on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for the 10th annual Snow Day in Berkeley.

Snow Day is the North Shattuck business district’s holiday event and is free for children of all ages. It was hosted by Another Bullwinkel Show and was sponsored by the North Shattuck Association in conjunction with many companies, including Safeway Inc., Yelp and M. Lowe & Co., among others.

“Santa comes the night before and drops 10 tons of snow on the street for the kids to play with in the morning,” said event producer Lisa Bullwinkel. “Then we have a snow queen — she will grant all your wishes for the holidays and gives you a little something to put under your pillow to make sure that happens.”

For many Berkeley children, the event is the first time they see snow, according to Bullwinkel. Heather Rowley, a parent at the event, said watching the children experience snow for the first time made the day more “special.”

Though the snow melted throughout the day, there was always enough fresh snow if you dug deep enough, Bullwinkel said.

Vendors included balloon twister Chris Abbe, Danse Lumière Nutcracker dancers and tap-dancing Christmas trees. Others joined in on the Snow Day festivities and offered holiday-themed arts and crafts booths for children to make their own projects.

The event also hosted pony rides provided by the Sacramento-based company Ponyland Amusements. Most of the company’s ponies are rescue animals “brought back to health” by staff after being found in unstable environments, according to the company website.

“It’s very uplifting seeing all these kids here enjoying the day together,” said strolling Dickensian cornetist Franklin Beauregard Davis. “The market is very alive here, which is very fun to see — it’s very fun to see the snow and all the kids playing.”

Those who attended had a chance to find a real diamond ring hidden in one of the snowballs for sale. Donated by M. Lowe & Co., the proceeds from the snowball sales will be used to fund a local middle school class trip, according to Bullwinkel.

One of the most popular craft booths, run by Steve DeNault Sandman, allowed children to create their own colorful sand bottles or pens. Harper Todd, a child at the booth, said she loved “everything” about the event and was excited to make a sand pen she could write with later.

“It’s really lovely,” Rowley said. “It’s nice to be reminded of the community around here and just be around people having fun and getting excited for the holidays and winter — it’s really special.”

Contact Maria Young at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @maria_myoung.