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THE PARKING LOT at Quail Lakes Baptist Church was transformed into a winter wonderland recently with nearly 40 tons of snow where children made snowmen and sledded down the mini-snow hills, roasted s’mores and picked up hot dogs and hot chocolate for free.

The church organized the Annual Snow Day 2023 this past Saturday afternoon. It is one of the church’s three big events in the year — Snow Day in March, Water Day in August and Harvest Carnival in October.

“We realized that a lot of the kids here in Stockton have never been up to the snow,” said Tim Ankcorn, the executive director of operations at the church. “So, we thought it would be nice to bring the snow to them … to experience what it’s like to play in the snow.”

Started in 2015, Snow Day usually takes place in the first weekend of March and was scheduled for March 11 this year. The event was then rescheduled to April 8 due to a series of atmospheric rivers that kept the city wet through March.

“This year, it was just raining and snowing the whole time,” Ankcorn said. “The last thing we wanted was it to be raining while the snow was here, for the snow to get all slushy and nobody would be having any fun.”

The event had about 40 tons of snow brought in from the Tahoe area in four big semi-trucks.

Jayden Robinson, 8, and Peyton Robinson, 5, enjoy a sled ride down the hill of snow during Snow Day at Quail Lakes Baptist Church in Stockton on Saturday. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)

Ankcorn said the church though it would be a good idea to reschedule Snow Day to the day before Resurrection Sunday.

“Easter Sunday is like the Super Bowl for churches. We will have free coffee and doughnuts and a special escape room for the kids,” Ankcorn said Saturday. “Having Snow Day today is a great way to invite people back to the campus for Sunday services.”

Harika Maddala is a photojournalist based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. They are a Report for America corps member and a CatchLight Local Fellow.