Posted: December 18, 2017
Can’t-Miss Winter Events: 2018 edition
Written by: Aimsel Ponti
Up Next: Hiking in Maine: Jamies Pond can provide some capital relief
Friends, it’s time to throw your arms around winter and not let go until, well, April-ish. Are you already sick of scraping your windshield and feeling the down-to-your-bones chill? Are you already dreaming of summers playing Frisbee on the Eastern Prom and standing in line for a cone at Red’s? Are you already stressed out over parking bans and snowbanks? Fear not, dear Mainers, we’re here to help with a Zamboni-sized collection of winter events to help you fall back in love with Maine’s longest season. From festivals to ice bars and everything in between, we think the more you do the less you’ll mind the weather. So put on your favorite flannel shirt and start marking up your calendar. And let’s keep in mind this line from Anton Chekhov: “People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” Let’s get happy, Maine.
Brunswick Longfellow Days
Throughout February. Multiple locations in Brunswick, free. brunswickdowntown.org
Head to Brunswick throughout the month of February to partake in the 13th annual celebration of this famous Maine poet. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, attended Bowdoin College and later became a professor there. Events include The Coursen Readings, a community poetry reading and a birthday party with cake.
Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe Series
11 a.m. Jan. 21, Feb. 11 and March 4. Bradbury Mountain State Park, Pownal, $25. trailmonsterrunning.com/bradburysnow
The Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe Series includes three races over the course of the season. There's the
Bradbury Squall 3-miler in January, the Bradbury White Out 4-miler in February and the Bradbury Blizzard 5-miler in
March. You'll be pushed to the limit on three separate courses circling and climbing Bradbury Mountain, and only
Mother Nature knows how brutal the conditions will be. Bring your own snowshoes and get ready to race! P.S. There
will be a limited number of loaner snowshoes available for all three races on a first-come, first-served basis in
case Santa Claus didn't bring you any. You must be registered to access these. Happy snowshoeing!
Feb. 3 to 6. Various locations in Camden. camdenwinterfest.com
From ice carving to a polar plunge, snowboarding demos, free family demos and more, Camden Winterfest has something for every fan of winter out there. Some of the events are ice sculpting at the Camden Ampitheatre and the polar plunge for you brave souls out there at Camden Harbor, both on Feb. 3. The next day, there's an exciting CamJam Ski and Snowboard exhibition and competition. On Feb. 6, catch a free screening of "Narnia" at Camden Public Library.
Photo courtesy of Camden Snow Bowl
U.S. National Toboggan Championships
Feb. 9 to 11, Camden Snow Bowl, 20 Barnestown Road, Camden. $60 for two-person team, $90 for three-person team, $120 for four-person team, $120 for experimental team. camdensnowbowl.com
FFor an adrenaline rush like none other, consider entering this year's U.S. National Toboggan Championships. You and your teammates will whiz down the 400-foot-long chute hanging on for dear life and hoping for a fast time. The vibe all weekend is fun and welcoming, and many teams opt to don fun costumes. Even if you don't compete, this is an amusing event for spectator as well, with many food trucks set up and a huge, adventure-loving crowd.
Staff photo by Tim Greenway
7th Annual Ice Bar & Lounge
5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 3. The Chalet at St. Joseph's College, Alfond Center, 278 Whites Bridge Road, Standish, $30 in advance, $35 day of, 21-plus. sjcme.edu
Things will be pretty chill in the Chalet at St. Joseph's College as it's time for its annual Ice Bar & Lounge event that benefits the Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship. Expect fire, ice and fun with a cash ice bar, fire pits and a cozy indoor lounge. Fun winter attire is recommended.
Photo courtesy of Saint Joseph's College
Flavors of Freeport Chef's Signature Series & Ice Bar
Feb. 16 to 18. The Hilton Garden Inn, 5 Park St., Freeport, $30, $50 for both nights, 21-plus. freeportusa.com
Freeport is festive and flavorful in February with the annual Flavors of Freeport Chef's Signature Series & Ice Bar. It all kicks off with the Flavors of Freeport Ice Bar from 5 to 8 p.m. and the Chef's Signature Series from 5 to 9 p.m. You'll sample bites from Maine's finest chefs, as well as local brews and beverages, and will learn about the latest news in the Freeport culinary world. The ice bar features ice sculptures, photo-ops, snow machines, roaring fires and a DJ spinning hot tunes on a chilly night. On Saturday night, head back to the ice bar for libations, and dance the night away in a nearby ballroom to the funky tunes of Motor Booty Affair. Costumes are encouraged, and prizes will be handed out to the best ones. Other weekend events include chocolate factory tours, a lobster brunch and free tastings and demonstrations all over town.
Photo courtesy of Freeport USA
Winter Wildlife Day at Wells Reserve
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 22. Wells Reserve at Laudholm, 342 Laudholm Farm Road, Wells, free. wellsreserve.org/event/2-22-18-winter-wildlife-day
Winter in Maine should be celebrated outside as much as possible, and the folks at Wells Reserve are inviting you to do just that. The Center for Wildlife will have a presentation with animal ambassadors from 10 to 11 a.m., then there's a tracking walk, storybook reading, wildlife craft time and best of all, sledding and snowshoeing. Sounds like a perfect family outing. Gather up the kids and the mittens and have at it.
Photo courtesy of Wells Reserve
The Mattress Race
1 p.m. Mar. 10. Shawnee Peak, 119 Mountain Road, Bridgton. shawneepeak.com
Got an old twin, full, queen or king collecting dust mites somewhere? Here's an idea of how to put it to good use, and you just might win a night in a Pleasant Mountain yurt or cabin. The race course is on the main slope and registration is from 9 a.m. to noon in guest services. All race participants must have a lift ticket or season pass to participate. Teams can be up to four people and tarps of other flat, slippery things are OK to slide on, just no skis or anything else that will elevate your mattress. Shawnee Peak also hands out prizes for the most uniquely decorated mattress and will dispose of your mattress post-race.
Staff photo by Gregory Rec
The Mattress Race
1 p.m. Mar. 10. Shawnee Peak, 119 Mountain Road, Bridgton. shawneepeak.com
Got an old twin, full, queen or king collecting dust mites somewhere? Here's an idea of how to put it to
good use, and you just might win a night in a Pleasant Mountain yurt or cabin. The race course is on the main slope
and registration is from 9 a.m. to noon in guest services. All race participants must have a lift ticket or season
pass to participate. Teams can be up to four people and tarps of other flat, slippery things are OK to slide on,
just no skis or anything else that will elevate your mattress. Shawnee Peak also hands out prizes for the most
uniquely decorated mattress and will dispose of your mattress post-race.
Staff photo by Gregory
Maine Maple Sunday
March 25. Statewide. mainemapleproducers.com
Life is extra sweet in this state on Maine Maple Sunday. More than 80 sugarhouses and farms around the state will be open, with many of them offering free maple syrup samples and demonstrations on how pure Maine maple syrup is made. Many farms offer games, activities, treats, sugarbush tours, music and so much more.
Staff photo by Jill Brady
7:30 p.m. Dec. 27. Shawnee Peak, 119 Mountain Road, Bridgton. shawneepeak.com
Shawnee Peak wants you to make friends with Old Man Winter, so it's having a festival to help you do just
that. The torch light parade will be followed by a dazzling fireworks show and both can be viewed out by the fire
or from inside the cozy Blizzards Pub where DJ Ron Reid will be spinning tunes.
Welcome to Winter 2018
12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 20. Payson Park, Portland, free. winterkids.org
Gather one and all and bring your sleds for an afternoon of pure winter fun presented by WinterKids.
WinterKids has a mission we can support: helping children develop healthy lifelong habits through education and
outdoor winter fun. So bring every kid you know and, of course, bring your own inner child because there are few
activities more smile- and adrenaline-producing than sledding. Whee! And be sure to keep an eye on the WinterKids'
website for WinterKids Family Days happening all winter long at area skiing spots.
Staff photo by Ben
Portland On Tap
1 to 4 p.m. & 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 27. Cross Insurance Arena, 1 Civic Center Square, Portland, $35 general admission, $55 VIP, 21-plus. americaontap.com
It'll be the sudsiest Saturday Portland's seen in a while. The fourth annual Portland On Tap craft beer festival features more than 120 craft beers from more than 60 breweries. You'll also shop from local vendors and rock out to live music. Choose your pouring session, afternoon or evening, and get ready to rub shoulders and clink glasses with a whole mess of beer-loving pals.
Jan. 18 to 20. Multiple locations in Rangeley. rangeleysnowobile.com
Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club is all about winter. Snodeo proves this point with scenic helicopter
flights, marshmallow roasts, a casino night, a chili-chowder cook off and, of course, a whole lot of snowmobiles.
Grab your motorized sled and snowsuit and have at it.
Photo by Michael G. Seamans
Auburn Winter Festival
Jan. 26 to 28. Various locations, Auburn. Many activities free, some with fees. auburnmaine.gov
For three fun days, Auburn becomes Maine's headquarters for winter fun. Winter Festival activities include
sledding, snowmobile rides, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, skating, ice sculptures, music and more. On Friday,
head to Lost Valley for tubing and the torch light parade, on Saturday hit the downtown ice bar sponsored by
Gritty's or the Kids' Zone. Sunday is chock full of family fun all over town so hit one or all three days of
Sergey Borisov 88/Shutterstock.com
Ice Bar at Brunswick Hotel & Tavern
5 to 10 p.m. Jan 18 to 20. Brunswick Hotel and Tavern, 4 Noble St., Brunswick. $16 in advance, $20 at the door
Thursday and Friday; $20 in advance, $24 at the door on Saturday, 21-plus. thebrunswickhotelandtavern.com
There will be a carved ice bar complete with drink luge, and you'll find a variety of specialty cocktails and local
beers to wet your whistle. An outdoor grilling station will be serving up meat, seafood and vegetable skewers, and
from there, you can move inside to the Robinson Room for a party on Thursday and Friday night
with DJ Larry Moore and on Saturday for blues, rock and reggae from the Dave Bullard Band. Ice, ice, baby!
Y Photo Studio/Shutterstock.com