The annual Camden Winterfest next month with kick off its week of activities with ice carving in the amphitheater and snow sculptures scattered throughout town. Camden Public Library hosts the annual Community Ice Carving in the amphitheater on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 30, and is seeking individuals and community groups who would like to try ice carving.

“It’s surprisingly easy with the right tools,” says master carver Tim Pierce. “The ice is extremely fragile, but extremely strong, it’s soft to carve — but doesn't last very long!”

Pierce will give an ice-carving demonstration, in advance of the community day, Sunday, Jan. 17, at 1 p.m. outdoors in front of the downtown library.

Anyone interested in joining the ice carvers should fill out an application, available online and at the Camden Public Library. Cost of the application is $60, to pay for the ice block. Specialized ice-carving picks will be available to all teams and participants are welcome to bring their own tools, although chain saws are not allowed.

The medium is a 300-pound block of clear ice, measuring 10-by-20-by-40 inches. Chef Pierce will serve as consultant for all carving designs prior to the festival, providing advice on whether they would work in ice. On Winterfest morn, he and his colleagues will rough out patterns into ice blocks in preparation for carving during the Winterfest.

There will be live music and children’s crafts indoors at the library during the community ice carving; and more music and hot food outdoors, as well as the ice carving in the amphitheater. There also will be a CamJam snowboard event; and a Polar Plunge in Harbor Park, all part of the kickoff to Winterfest. On the Village Green, Camden will host the state’s only sanctioned snow carving competition.

The day begins a week full of community events including concerts, movies, a snowplow parade and Mardi Gras style dancing. The week’s schedule includes daily events, starting with the Jan. 30 ice carving, snow sculptures, CamJam and Polar Plunge, as well as an evening ski movie in the Camden Opera House. Snow sculpting will continue Sunday, Jan. 31, and the Frost Heave challenge kicks in, hosted by local restaurants and bars.

Tuesday, Feb. 2, is Ground Hog Day, and the library will host a free showing of the Bill Murray movie of the same name. Wednesday evening, Feb. 3, the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers will perform “Everybody Loves Pirates” at the Camden Opera House at 6 p.m. Thursday Night, Feb. 4, will be Winterfest’s Mardi Gras concert at the Camden Opera House featuring the local Dolphin Strykers and headliner C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band. Friday, Feb. 5, will open the U.S. National Toboggan Championships at the Camden Snow Bowl, with the snowplow and Mardi Gras parade through town in the evening followed by fireworks over the harbor. On Saturday, Feb. 6, the Toboggan Nationals continue; and there will be a movie at the opera house and a Mardi Gras block party and dance downtown, along with the Frost Heave Challenge finale. On Sunday, Feb. 7, Winterfest finally wraps up with the finals of the U.S. National Toboggan Championships at the Snow Bowl.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.