The key to a great s'more?
"You have to put it (the marshmallow) by the fire and make it almost golden-brown," said Monica Salonga of Villa Park at the Lombard Park District's Winter Carnival Saturday.
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The 10-year-old girl was one of more than 300 people who visited the children's event at Sunset Knoll Recreation Center on the snowy afternoon.
Children could blow off steam indoor and out. Rides on a "train" around the park were popular with preschoolers. Kids could also paint snow using squirt bottles filled with dyed water, or make s'mores at the fire pits under a pavilion.
"They call me the S'mores Guy. We do this at a lot of our fall and winter events, and the people seem to love it," said Rick Poole, supervising the treat-making. His day job is deputy director of the park district.
The district had a small pile of plastic sleds available to use on a hill in the park.
Inside, children played games, made crafts, were entertained by a balloon artist and marveled at a stilt-walker.
Grace Kueking, 2, was running around the gymnasium while waiting with her mother, Lindsay, for a balloon animal.
"The whack-a-frog was a favorite," Lindsay Kueking said. The game featured a silicone toy frog sitting on one end of a teeter-totter board. Kids got a thrill out of hitting the board (and often, the frog) with a soft mallet to send the frog "jumping" through the air.
Another popular attraction was the Boom Blaster station, where kids could pump air in to balloons until the balloons exploded, causing children to laugh and startled adults to jump a little and jokingly clutch their hearts.
The drop-in event was free. Besides s'mores, people snacked on popcorn and hot chocolate.
"We usually do this every year," said Meri Niehaus, program manager for the district.