Three weekends of winter fun planned for Bethel WinterFest, February 9th-24th
Bethel is known for being a winter playland, and each year, the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce rallies locals and visitors alike to celebrate the season during Bethel WinterFest. This year, volunteers and sponsors are working to build a Snowcano – a “volcano” made of snow.
Volunteers are currently building the Snowcano at the lot between the Parkway and Cross Street in Bethel, known as Festival Plaza. It consists of tree-length logs bundled together and stacked on end with a huge cone-shaped pile of snow pushed up around them. The height will be approximately 40 feet. The logs will be lit on fire via a tunnel dug at the base of the snow pile. Flames and sparks will shoot from the peak, creating the effect of an erupting volcano. WinterFest is sponsored by Sunday River and Norway Savings Bank, with Sunday River also providing assistance with snowmaking and grooming.
This year’s WinterFest will take place over three weekends in February. Festivities include:
Thursday, February 7 – WinterFest kick-off party at 22 Broad Street, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February, 9 – The snow hill that comprises the Snowcano will officially open to the public for sledding.
Saturday, February 16 – The Snowcano will “erupt” at 6:30 p.m. The sledding hill will be open all day.
Saturday, February 23
- Free snowshoe demos available 10 a.m.-3 p.m. courtesy of True North Adventureware. An easy snowshoe walk will leave from Festival Plaza at 1 p.m.
- Free snow groomer rides leaving from Festival Plaza provided by GreenStock SnowSports snowmobile club 1-3 p.m.
- Sledding hill open all day.
- At 6 p.m., the RailWars rail jam will feature the area’s best freestyle skiers and snowboarders showing off their moves on jumps and rails set into the side of the Snowcano. For more information or to sign up, contact Nate Clukey at 381-7417.
Sledders of all ages are welcome; however, participants must bring their own sleds and sled at their own risk.
Many other events are planned throughout town during the two-week period, including alpine and Nordic skiing events, snowshoeing, and family activities at venues including Sunday River, Mt. Abram, The Bethel Inn Resort, Carter’s XC Ski Center, and the Outdoor Center. A complete list of events is available at www.bethelwinterfest.com.
WinterFest is organized by the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Town of Bethel. For information on where to stay, eat, and play in the Bethel area, visit www.bethelmaine.com.