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by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE - No sunshine, no problem.

The Coyotes Carnival went off without a hitch on Sunday afternoon inside Arena.

Approximately 1,300 fans attended the three-hour event and visited with Coyotes coaches, players, broadcasters and Howler in a carnival setting. Coyotes players hosted tents and played carnival games with fans inside their tents.

Coyotes center Vernon Fiddler plays foosball with a fan on Sunday at the Coyotes Carnival. (Photo by Norm Hall)
For instance, goalies Ilya Bryzgalov and Jason LaBarbera challenged fans to one-on-one games of air hockey in their tent. Forwards Radim Vrbata and Daniel Winnik hosted a tent with a cork gun shooting range. And defenseman Derek Morris and center Vernon Fiddler played foosball with fans inside the their tent.

“It was amusing,” said Coyotes fan Jeff Renckly, who beat Fiddler in foosball 3-0. “It’s a little bit of a surreal experience seeing as that he was the first professional athlete I’ve ever met. Coyotes players are some of the most accessible players. You can actually shake their hands, as opposed to basketball or football players. You could never meet with them like that.”

In addition to hosting the tents, the players posed for pictures and signed memorabilia.

Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett signs an autograph Sunday at the Coyotes Carnival. (Photo by Norm Hall)
“Everyone I’ve talked to is having a blast,” Coyotes defenseman Jim Vandermeer said. “People are playing games and chatting up the boys. It’s fun.”

Morris, who just returned to the Coyotes in a trade a few days ago, enjoyed getting re-acquainted with some of his fans from his first stint with the team.

“The people here today are the ones who are very, very passionate about our team and it’s great that we are able to connect with them like this on a rainy afternoon,” Morris said.

All of the coaches attended the carnival, including Head Coach Dave Tippett, who mingled with fans when he wasn’t a contestant in various trivia contests on the main stage.

Coyotes forward Daniel Winnik poses for a photo with a young fan on Sunday at the Coyotes Carnival. (Photo by Dave Vest)
The event also featured carnival staples such as cotton candy, a face painter and a juggler walking on stilts. A live band performed for the fans, many of who participated in a silent auction.

Proceeds of the carnival will go to Coyotes Charities.

The carnival was supposed to have been staged outside Arena but Mother Nature had other plans. Though it dampened the landscape, the rain didn’t dampen the mood at the carnival.

“I am having a lot of fun,” said 11-year-old fan Carson Ferrall. “My favorite part is just playing the games with the players and interacting and getting their autographs.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: Check back to in the coming days to watch a video of the Coyotes Carnival.

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