Camden Winterfest spans week of fun

Jan 29, 2014
"Sheep Tricks," by Karen and Steve Seymour and Doug Roncarati.

Camden — Camden ‘s annual Winterfest celebration, beginning Saturday, Feb. 1, has taken on a whole new dimension for 2014.

With a variety of events culminating with the U.S. National Toboggan Championships, Feb. 7-9, Winterfest Week has something for everyone this year.

Sunday, Feb. 2 will feature an exciting new event in downtown Camden. The Cam Jam — a freestyle ski and snowboard competition — will take place in Harbor Park across from the library at 1 p.m. with registration and warm-ups opening at 10 a.m. The Camden Snow Bowl sponsors this rail jam, promising spectators a sight not seen in the village area before. Simultaneously, Harbor Park will also feature snow games on Sunday for kids of all ages like Tic-Tac-Snow, the Snowman Hat Trick and the Frosty Toss. Warm refreshments will be provided by the eighth-grade Japan exchange program.

Residents will enjoy another new Winterfest feature this year: 8-foot-high snow sculptures will begin appearing Feb. 1 around the downtown and at the Snow Bowl. Eleven sculptors from around Maine will convene in Camden Friday night to begin work on the snow sculptures, a process that will continue through Sunday afternoon. The Snow Bowl crew will both bring in snow and make snow in the downtown area to prepare for the sculptures. The snow artists, who work for no charge other than lodging and meals, plan to work on their creations all weekend at the Village Green, the Library, and at the Camden Snow Bowl.

Merryspring’s Winter Ecology Festival is also a new part of Winterfest Week. On Saturday, the Ecology Festival features nature-based activities including snowshoe hikes, educational presentations and demonstrations of how maple trees are tapped for the production of maple syrup. Merryspring’s event runs Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Ice carving is a Winterfest tradition that the library has hosted for many years. On Saturday afternoon, family activities and music are offered in the Amphitheatre in addition to the ice carving. Saturday afternoon’s events, including foods donated by local restaurants, are presented by the Camden Public Library with support from The First.

Camden’s Winterfest Week culminates with U.S. National Toboggan Championships the weekend of Feb. 7-9 at the Camden Snow Bowl. Races begin Friday, the 7th and continue on Saturday and Sunday. Toboggan enthusiasts are encouraged to park in downtown Camden and take the shuttle bus from Washington Street out to the Snow Bowl. Shuttles run every 20 minutes, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Other events in the area during Winterfest Week include entertainment at the Camden Opera House (Girl on a Bicycle Film – Feb. 1, at 7 p.m.) and the Rockport Opera House (The Great Cabin Fever Escape featuring The Wiyos – Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m.) and the Down the Chute Beer and Wine Tasting at the Camden Snow Bowl (Feb. 7, from 3 to 7 p.m.). The Banff Film Festival takes place at the Strom Auditorium at Camden Hills Regional High School both Friday and Saturday nights, Feb 7-8, at 7 p.m.

In addition to the Camden Snow Bowl and the Camden Public Library, special thanks for making Winterfest Week possible goes to the Camden Downtown Business Group and the Town of Camden’s Public Works department. The Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce would also like to thank local businesses providing lodging and food to the snow sculptors — Lord Camden Inn, Country Inn, Towne Motel, Bagel Café, Camden Deli, Cuzzy’s and Cappy’s Restaurant. Jennifer Temple of Clean Bee Laundry and Emily Lusher have been instrumental helping to organize the fun.

For more information on Saturday’s Winterfest launch, visit librarycamden.org, and for more on the snow sculptures and downtown happenings camdenwinterfest.com. Toboggan Nationals information can be found at camdensnowbowl.com.

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