The sun was shining, but the air was bitter cold Saturday as some gathered at the Camden Public Library and Amphitheatre to carve ice sculptures and others boldly ran into the harbor for the "Polar Plunge."

The events marked the coming of Camden Winterfest running from Feb. 3-11. It is all leading up to the massive party on the mountain next weekend with the arrival of the 2018 U.S. National Toboggan Championships at the Camden Snow Bowl.

Tim Pierce of Rockport, who works as a chef at the Samoset Resort, was hard at work with an electric die grinder revealing the swan that had been hidden in a block of solid ice. He actually teaches the art of ice carving and had with him an apprentice, Hector Pietra-Santa, who was creating a Camden Winterfest sculpture.

Pierce said he has been participating in the Winterfest event for the past 15 years.

Several other teams were chipping, scraping, shaving and cutting blocks of ice creating signs, gnomes and even an Easter Island Head. The atmosphere was festive as children played in the park and DJ Terry Frank of Penobscot provided pop music for entertainment.

A group of 12 students from Riley School, supervised by art facilitator Alix Martin, created their own sculpture.

Volunteer Matt Brown said the event was put on by the Camden Public Library with the help of volunteers. The ice carving was merely for fun and was not a competition, he noted. There were activities available for parents and children in the library throughout the day including music provided inside by the local band, "All That Jazz."

Brown said he was optimistic about the week and that the weather conditions were likely to be good for the toboggan championships.

A short walk through the trees brought participants to the "Blue Door Book Shed," where the library is holding a book sale both the weekend of Winterfest and for the toboggan championships. The sale goes 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, both weekends.

Despite extremely cold air, a large group of young and old gathered in their bathing suits and took part in the Coastal Mountains Land Trust Polar Plunge, jumping into the water in the harbor as many spectators cheered them on and then running back out to grab dry towels and stand by the fire. Camden EMTs were on hand to make sure everyone was safe.

Winterfest will continue with the following events:

Sunday, Feb. 4

The CamJam Freestyle Exhibition will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Camden Snow Bowl. Previously having taken place at Harbor Park, this year’s event will allow skiers and snowboarders under the age of 16 to highlight their skills on the mountain.

Tuesday, Feb. 6

The film, "Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" will be screened for free at the Camden Public Library at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 7

The play "Uncle Pirate" will be performed by students from Camden Hills Regional High School under the direction of Kim Murphy at the Camden Opera House at 6 p.m. General admission tickets are $5, with a $15 cap per family.

Thursday, Feb. 8

The musical group "The Ghost of Paul Revere" will perform at the Camden Opera House at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at

Friday, Feb. 9

The U.S. National Toboggan Championships begin at 10 a.m. at the Snow Bowl. Weather permitting, team registrations and toboggan inspections will be performed, and the chute will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entry fee is $5 per person.

Saturday, Feb. 10

U.S. National Toboggan Championships continue from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Snow Bowl. A bus shuttle will bring visitors from the Village Green in Camden to the Snow Bowl from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Round trip tickets are $2.

The Chamber of Commerce Information & Visitor Center will be offering free hot cocoa from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The West Bay Rotary Chili Challenge will take place from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Sea Dog Brewing Company in Camden. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for children.

The Banff Film Festival will be held at Camden Hills Regional High School at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for children.

Sunday, Feb. 11

The U.S. Toboggan Championships run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Camden Snow Bowl, with final times and awards presented.

A bus shuttle will ferry visitors between the Village Green and the Snow Bowl from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.