Camden’s Winterfest wonderland week kicks off Saturday, Jan. 30 with town-wide festivities, including community ice carving in the Amphitheatre, professional snow carving on the Village Green, freestyle snowboarding in Harbor Park, and new this year, a polar plunge into Camden Harbor.

Festivities in the Amphitheatre on Jan. 30 include ice carving, hot food, and music from noon to 3 p.m. outdoors, and live music from All That Jazz, face painting, winter storytime, and kids crafts indoors, all hosted by the Camden Public Library. The ice carving celebration has been a community tradition for 15 years now.

At the same time, in Harbor Park, the Snow Bowl will offer freestyle boarding on terrain park elements and snow imported from the ski area. On the Village Green, juried snow sculptures will be frantically and artistically formed in preparation for judging on Sunday. The event is the state’s only sanctioned snow carving competition. The polar plunge is at 2:30 p.m. at the harbor’s edge in Harbor Park, hosted by Coastal Mountains Land Trust. There will also be a ski movie in the evening at the Camden Opera House.

The events continue through the week, with awards on Sunday, Jan. 31, for the snow carving, snowman contest, and CamJam snowboarding events. Tuesday is Ground Hog Day, and the Camden Public Library will host a free showing of the movie “Ground Hog Day.” Wednesday evening, the terrifically entertaining Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers will perform “Everybody Loves Pirates” at the Camden Opera House at 6 p.m.

Festivities take on a Mardi Gras flair on Thursday with our live concert at the Camden Opera House featuring both the Dolphin Strikers and headliner C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band. Friday features the kickoff of the U.S. National Toboggan Championships at the Snow Bowl, with the “Snow Plow Parade” in town in the evening, followed by fireworks over the harbor.

On Saturday, Feb. 6, the library will host “Fairies in the Snow!” at 1 p.m. with author Liza Gardner Walsh and illustrator Hazel Mitchell for an afternoon making fairies. Kids can join in fairy attire for a special reading and crafts and activities. The author and illustrator will be selling and signing books and there will be light refreshments.

The Toboggan Nationals continue on Saturday, and there will be a ski movie at the Opera House, a Mardi Gras block party and dance downtown, along with the Frost Heave Challenge finale. On Sunday, Winterfest wraps up with the finals of the U.S. National Toboggan Championships at the Snow Bowl.

Camden Winterfest 2016 is Maine’s Mardi Gras. It’s a weeklong celebration of winter with outdoor and indoor activities, beginning with ice carving and snow sculpting and culminating with the Toboggan Nationals and a celebratory dance, all with a Maine Mardi Gras festive theme. From the opening celebration in the Amphitheatre to the closing victory celebration at the Toboggan Nationals, Camden Winterfest is a lively winter phenomenon for families, visitors, and teammates. Winterfest builds on the traditions of the ice-carving Winterfest celebration begun 15 years ago and the Toboggan Nationals that began more than 25 years ago on the restored toboggan chute at the Snow Bowl. It promises to be a growing, dynamic, community-based festival full of mid-winter activities for all.