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Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan has a fondness for Maine’s peculiar goings on. And helmet cams. There’s definitely a fondness for helmet cams.   Since she arrived in Maine 10 years ago, it’s been her mission to experience it all firsthand – from the cardboard boat races to the paddleboard jousting tournaments. With any luck, she’ll persuade you to try it, too.

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Posted: January 6, 2016

20+ can’t-miss winter events in Maine

Written by: Shannon Bryan

Mushing at Bridgton’s Winter Carnival, sledding down East End hill during the Snowman Adventure Race and taking to the chute at the U.S. National Toboggan Championships.

Nobody wants to succumb to unrestrained weather-related hostility each winter. And the other alternatives – psychotropic drug abuse and/or season-long hibernation – aren’t very appealing either.

But such are the options for folks who don’t prepare against the personality-altering effects of a New England winter.

The cold season can ice our spirits and bury our good natures under a half-ton of ash-colored slush. But we can break free from winter’s frigid clutches with a little help from a toboggan, an ice bar, and a few well-placed snowballs. The key is strategy. We need a wintry plan of attack. For, like the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of February shock therapy.” Here are a few options for staving off winter psychosis.

Also check out our list of Maine Winter Fairs & Festivals

Press Herald file photo

Full Moon Hike

5:30 p.m. Feb. 27, Mt. Abram, Greenwood. Free.
The appearance of the full moon means it’s time again for the uphill trek to Mt. Abram’s peak, where music and mountain revelry await. The 50-minute (give or take) climb will do wonders raising your body temperature, but if you’re still chilly when you reach the summit, take comfort in the warming hut at the top. Hang out, have a beverage, then ski, ride or hike your way down.

Ice Festival L/A

5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 19 and 20, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 21, Fountain Park, Bates Mill Complex, Lewiston. VIP Friday night: $25 in advance, $30 at the door, Saturday: $15 in advance, $20 at the door, Sunday Family Day: Free for children 18 and under, $2.50 adults in advance, $5 adults at the door.
By mid-February, winter ice can get pretty thick. Put that ice to work in your favor at the Ice Festival of Lewiston/Auburn, where frosty beverages are served up with a twist and where winter ice is carved into ice bars and cool ice sculptures and ice luges for chilled winter drinks. Because ice doesn’t seem so bad when it’s serving you a cocktail. There’s also food from area restaurants, live music and plenty of revelry to keep everyone warm. Friday is VIP night and Sunday is family friendly and free for kids.

OOB Winter Carnival

Feb. 18-20, Old Orchard Street, Old Orchard Beach.
The beach doesn’t see a lot of foot traffic in the winter, but Old Orchard Beach’s Winter Carnival aims to bring people beachside for some winter sledding with views of the Atlantic. So what massive hill in OOB will visitors be sledding on? Just a man-made mini-mountain – in the middle of Old Orchard Street. Kids Carnival on Thursday, night sledding party on Friday and ice bowling, pony rides and a Slippery Slope Pub Crawl (for the grownups) on Saturday (plus hot cocoa and marshmallow toasting).

Flavors of Freeport Chef’s Signature Series and Ice Bar

5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 19 and 5 to 8 p.m. Feb 20, The Hilton Garden Inn, 5 Park St., Freeport. $27.37 to $43.19.
Frosty beverages, ice sculptures, twinkling lights, snow machines and roaring fires. That’s how Freeport does an Ice Bar! On Friday night, enjoy cocktails in the courtyard and then head inside to dance to the funky tunes of Motor Booty Affair. On Saturday, the Ice Bar runs in conjunction with the Chef’s Signature Series event and there will be a DJ. Both events are part of the Flavors of Freeport Weekend. More on that and tickets:

Bartenders shake up cocktails at the Signature Event wrapping up Maine Restaurant Week 2014. Press Herald file photo

Bartenders shake up cocktails at the Signature Event wrapping up Maine Restaurant Week 2014. Press Herald file photo

Maine Restaurant Week(s)

March 1-12, restaurants around the state.
Restaurants around the state are participating in this annual event, which features specially priced three-course meals for $25, $35, $45, and $55. Lunches are $15. For a list of restaurants (betcha can’t pick just one: There’s also the Incredible Breakfast Cook-off, The Cocktail Quest and The Great Coffee and Dessert Pairing Event. It’s one delicious week.

WinterKids Downhill 24

March 11-12, Sugarloaf, 5092 Access Rd, Carrabassett Valley.
Remember when you were a kid and you could spend hours repeatedly doing the same fun thing over and over and over (like asking “are we there yet,” singing songs from Disney movies or playing Tetris for 18 hours straight)? The Downhill 24 is kind of like that, except with skiing. Teams will compete to ski who can squeeze the most run in 24 hours (Let’s do it again! And again! And again!). Also cool, this is the first time in Sugloaf’s history that there will be night skiing. The whole effort benefits WinterKids.

America’s Mattress Race

March 12, Shawnee Peak, 119 Mountain Road, Bridgton. $5 mattress fee plus lift ticket.
During the America’s Mattress Race, mattresses of all sizes will take to the mountain at Shawnee Peak. They’ll shirk their once-sedentary lifestyle for a chance to make like a toboggan and slide Shawnee’s Main Slope — with a few riders on top clutching the edges in high-speed fear. The fastest team wins a new king-sized mattress, and there’s also a prize for the most uniquely decorated mattress.

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