Camden Winterfest will return to the Camden Public Library and Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheatre for the eighth annual community celebration of winter on Saturday, Jan. 30. The popular event is presented by the Camden Public Library and the Winterfest Committee along with local sponsors.

The centerpiece of Camden Winterfest remains the community ice carving event. A dozen teams representing local nonprofits, businesses and community groups will transform blocks of ice into crystalline ice sculptures using the traditional tools of the ice-carving artisan. Chef Tim Pierce of the Samoset Resort donates his time to teach the teams the craft of ice sculpting. This year the teams are asked to create sculptures around the theme “Spice of Life.”

“The addition of a theme this year is new and exciting. We are anxious to see how the creative ice carvers interpret this theme in their ice creations,” said Kristi Bifulco, board member of Camden Winterfest.

With or without snow, families are encouraged to come and enjoy the event. Horse and wagon rides will be offered free of charge. A merry band of culinary volunteers will serve a variety of delicious hot soups donated by local restaurants, light snacks, and their world famous Arctic Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Local band All That Jazz will perform in the rotunda of the library. Also returning this year are the living statues by Meredith Alex Design, Madgirl. New in 2010 is the addition of music outside in the amphitheatre. DJ sensation Vistas and the popular New England band Stiff Whisker and the Driftwood Kids will entertain carvers and onlookers all afternoon. During band breaks local musicians are encouraged to come and partake in an open mic.

Winterfest began eight years ago as a modest effort to enliven Camden parks with community activity, engage and include the teens and youth of the community, and draw attention to the restoration of the parks. The event has its historic roots in the Camden Winter Carnival, a festive winter event celebrated in the amphitheatre and at the Camden Snow Bowl in the late 1930s, discontinued in 1941. In 2009 an expanded program of outdoor and indoor activities attracted a crowd of more than 800 attendees.

Winterfest will also include a 5-k freestyle cross-country ski race at Camden Hills Regional High School on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. Registration is from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.; those interested in participating should call Dave Ridley at 236-8567. For more information or an ice carving application, visit winterfest.mycamdenmaine.com.