Adults dislike several things about snow.
It is cold and wet.
Pack it into a little ball and it can be downright hard.
Let a little dusting settle on Wiregrass roads and they drive like circus clowns on unicycles.
It disrupts work. Or, if you happen to be a utility worker, it creates marathon hours.
But there are two things adults love about snow.
They love to see a freshly fallen snow in the woods. There is something pure about it. People pay great sums for paintings of it.
And, they love to see their children or grandchildren play with wide-eyed, unrestrained joy in the middle of piles of it.
Other than the occasional dusting that comes to the Wiregrass as often as Halley’s Comet, one of the rare opportunities comes on the first Saturday of December in downtown Dothan during the 8th Annual Christmas Festival.
The parking lot across the street from the Police Department became a Winter Wonderland thanks to humongous blocks of ice turned into artificial snow by a machine.
Courtney Burnett isn’t sure what it is about the water vapor frozen into ice crystals that puts smiles on her sons Christian, 6, and Braelyn, 2.
“It’s different,” she said with a smile of her own.
Maybe it is the rarity of the opportunity to play in the stuff. Whatever the reason, snow has a magical hold on children, as if some unforeseen force compels a 5-year-old boy to fashion a handful of snow into a ball and toss it at dad, then scream gleefully when it explodes all over him.
Braelynn Napier, who will turn six next week, explored every inch of the artificial snowfall Saturday as part of her pre-birthday extravaganza with grandparents Mike and Dawn Martin. Mike snapped pictures while Dawn watched intently.
“Snow is fun when you can get out and play in it, not so fun when you have to get out in it and have to drive around in it,” said Dawn, who has spent time in Chicago.
They even covered the hill near the Police Department with snow and provided sled rides for the kids.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a festival without other festival staples. Children were able to take advantage of pony rides, inflatables, small fair-type rides, arts and crafts and ornament painting. The intoxicating smell of food made a trip to the food vending area almost irresistible.
The temperature, however, seemed more appropriate for a Labor Day barbecue than a romp in the snow and a Santa visit. It was 66 degrees in Dothan at 10 a.m. Saturday, and rising.
The mounds of artificial snow melted into water and trickled down toward the city’s downtown drains. If Frosty had been here, the kids would certainly have wanted to get him to the North Pole, pronto.