“This is great,” said Jon Fischer, who moved to Glendale from Utah last month with his wife and daughter. “Snow is one of those magical things for kids. They don’t quite know what it is or where it comes from, but while it’s there it’s a blast.”
Fischer’s 4-year-old daughter, Stefanie Fischer, had grown used to seeing snow in Utah and was awaiting the Glendale snow day for weeks, he said.
When she arrived to see two patches of snow and four snow slides on a green lawn under a bright sun, she was both confused and excited.
“I thought, ‘Oh, that’s kind of funny,’” Stefanie said.
The warm weather didn’t stop her from wearing mittens or a winter cap while playing in the snow.
The city’s Winter Wonderland event has become an annual favorite for residents, said Karen Fries, a community services supervisor for the city.
The event cost $8,000 and required a private contractor to truck 100-pound blocks of ice into the park early Saturday, when they manufactured the snow at the site.
Although the event carries an expense, it is staffed largely by volunteers and brings in about 5,000 residents annually, said Patty Betancourt, special events coordinator for the Community Services and Parks Department.
“There’s no snow around here, so for some people it’s the first time they’ve touched snow,” Betancourt said.
The city had to cancel the event a year ago because of rain, which left some attendees Saturday looking forward to the city-sponsored snow day for two years.
“We were really sad about that,” said Kathy Cavendar, whose daughter, Emmy Chavez, 9, had enjoyed the event annually.
Emmy was sharing the experience with her 2-year-old dog, which she carried with her on two sled trips as it squirmed in her arms.
“It’s fun,” Emmy said of sledding with her dog, Sugar. “I don’t know if she likes it though.”
Other park visitors had mixed experiences with the snow.
Sebastian Buendia, 4, twirled in his sled as it went down the hill, clenching his teeth and reaching out in what appeared to be a mix of fear and excitement.
“I think it was a little of both,” said Glendale resident Mauricio Buendia, Sebastian’s grandfather.
Parents built miniature snowmen with their children, or broke out in snow fights on the small patches of snow in the park.
Jose Nuño, of Glendale, had become accustomed to visiting the park for the annual event, which he said brought residents together to share in the excitement of having snow in the city.
“The whole community comes to have fun with the kids,” he said.