Call for ice carvers at Camden Winterfest 2014

Dec 13, 2013

Camden — Winterfest, Camden’s annual celebration of winter and community, returns to the amphitheatre Saturday, Feb. 1, at noon.

The centerpiece of Winterfest activity is the community ice carving. Community groups, individuals, schools, and businesses carve wondrous crystalline sculptures on the day of the celebration, using the traditional tools of the ice-carving artisan.

Tim Pierce, executive chef and master ice-carver of the Samoset Resort, assists the carvers with their creations. Winterfest is presented by the Winterfest Committee and Camden Public Library with support from The First. The Winterfest Committee welcomes new carvers.

The cost for registration is $50, and covers the cost of a crystal-clear block of carving ice, measuring 10-inches-by-20-inches-by-40 inches and weighs over 300 pounds.

Call Ken Gross at the library for more information, 236-3440, or visit the library website to download a registration form.

This year the Camden Winterfest activities will be expanded to make a weeklong community festival.

Winterfest will be on the first weekend, on Feb. 1, and Camden’s Toboggan National Championships, on the following weekend, Feb. 7-9, will “bookend” the week. The Camden Snow Bowl, Camden Public Library, Camden Downtown Business Group, and the PenBay Regional Chamber of Commerce are busy planning mid-week events as well. This year, for the first time, snow sculptures are planned for Camden as well as the traditional ice sculptures.

The Snow Bowl is planning on providing a mini-mountain of snow in the amphitheatre for family winter fun such as sledding and building snowmen. With or without natural snow, families are encouraged to come and play and enjoy Camden’s downtown public parks. Winter indoor crafts and face painting are offered free of charge to the younger set in the Picker Room of the Camden Public Library during Winterfest on Feb. 1. The warm rotunda of the library hosts live music by All That Jazz. Also on Atlantic Avenue, a merry band of culinary volunteers serve a variety of hot soups and light snacks donated by local restaurants. Proceeds benefit the Camden Public Library.

Master Carver Tim Pierce will offer an outdoor workshop and demonstration on ice carving at the library Sunday, Jan. 19, at 1 p.m. All are welcome; carvers who are participating in this year’s Winterfest will be particularly interested in attending the workshop for tips on design and carving ice sculptures.

The amphitheatre is home to the ice sculptures for several weeks after the event in what the committee calls a Winter Ice Garden. The community is encouraged to keep coming back to the park to watch on a daily basis how the ice sculptures change and melt away.

Winterfest in its new incarnation is in part a revival of a historic event called Camden Winter Carnival, celebrated in the amphitheatre and the Camden Snow Bowl in the late 1930s and discontinued in 1941. The idea of reviving these winter festivities grew out of two events that have proven to be hugely important to the vitality and health of the Camden-Rockport community: the Five Town Study Circles and the restoration of Camden Harbor Park & Amphitheatre. Winterfest brings those two together by bringing as many diverse community groups, especially youth, as possible into one event in the parks for the enjoyment of all.

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