Camden Winterfest returns, celebrates amphitheatre ice rink opening

Jan 13, 2011
Vivian Priestley and Abigail Matlack make an ice present at the 2010 event.

Camden — Winterfest returns to the Camden Public Library’s Amphitheater for the 9th annual community celebration of winter and the grand opening of the Amphitheatre Ice Rink on Saturday, Jan. 29.

In addition to the one day winter celebration, the Winterfest committee has collaborated with the Friends of the Amphitheatre Ice Rink to bring outdoor healthy recreation to Camden all winter long. A free public ice rink will be constructed in the Camden Amphitheatre this winter.

Winterfest began nine years ago as an effort to enliven Camden parks with community activity, engage and include local youth, and draw attention to the restoration of the parks. The Winterfest Committee is excited about how the addition of an ice rink fulfills the original goal of the event. The Friends of the Amphitheatre Ice Rink has raised the money for the purchase, construction and maintenance of the public rink.

The centerpiece of Winterfest activity remains the Community Ice Carving Event. Community groups will come together to transform ordinary blocks of ice into crystalline ice sculptures using the traditional tools of the ice-carving artisan. As he has from Winterfest's debut, Tim Pierce, chef and master ice-carver of the Samoset Resort, instructs the teams on the use of the tools in a workshop before the event. Pierce also carves the signature Winterfest Goose at the head of the amphitheatre each year. The community groups are encouraged to express individual style and spirit in their ice carvings. 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 activities begin at 12 noon in the Camden Amphitheatre and Camden Public Library. With or without snow, families are encouraged to come and play, skate 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. 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 delicious hot soups donated by local restaurants, light snacks, and their world famous Arctic Grilled Cheese sandwiches.

The Winterfest Committee would like to thank: The Camden Public Library, Camden Library Board of Trustees, Camden Select Board, Camden Town Manager, Camden Fire Department, Camden Parks and Rec Department, Aqua Maine, The Friends of the Amphitheatre Ice Rink, The First, Phi Home Designs, EBS, Tim Pierce & The CRL Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, please go to: winterfest.mycamdenmaine.com.

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 1930's 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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