Rain could put Clearwater snow event on ice

Kids play in the snow during last year’s Miracle on Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater.

JIM DAMASKE | Times (2008)

Kids play in the snow during last year’s Miracle on Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater.

CLEARWATER — The rain might postpone the snow.

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Major events are planned for Friday evening in downtown Clearwater, with 40 tons of snow for children to frolic in as well as a holiday lighting ceremony.

But now organizers are worried about the possibility of rainy weather. They'll decide today whether to go ahead and hold the events Friday or wait a week and do it next Friday.

"The fear is that with unseasonable rain, the snow would turn into ice and slush. It could be a safety issue," said Bill Sturtevant, chairman of the Clearwater Downtown Partnership, which is putting on the snow event. "The problem with weather is, nobody really knows what will happen. You try to make the right decision."

The main event is the second annual "Miracle on Cleveland Street," scheduled to run from 5 to 10 p.m. in the 500 and 600 blocks of Cleveland Street. The free, family friendly event will feature two big snow slides, Santa Claus, a live band, actors working the crowd as characters from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and a Christmas train. An ice company grinds blocks of ice into snow and uses snow blowers to cover the slides with it.

At least 2,500 people attended last year, and a bigger crowd is expected this year. But weather forecasters are predicting a 70 percent chance of rain Friday.

Also scheduled for Friday is the city's annual Holiday Light-Up and a wreath decorating contest in downtown's Station Square Park from 5 to 7:30 p.m. It will feature Radio Disney offering children's games and live entertainment.

"We are coordinating with the Partnership to determine whether we'll go forward Friday or next Friday. One event won't happen without the other," said Courtney Orr, Clearwater's downtown manager. "We'll decide no later than early afternoon so we can get the word out."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4160.

Rain could put Clearwater snow event on ice 12/02/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 3, 2009 7:29am]

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