Winter festivals return to Maine after a yr of pandemic cancellations



BELFAST, Maine – After nearly 12 months with most of the personal festivals canceled, the coming weekend is a chance for winter weary Mainern to get out and enjoy themselves.

The Belfast Ice Festival features ice carving demonstrations, ice sculptures, two ice bars in front of Main Street restaurants and more on Saturday.

The event came together pretty quickly, said Zach Schmesser, director of Our Town Belfast, and began as a collaboration between local restaurateurs Ryan Otis from Rollies Bar & Grill and Tina DelSanto from Delvinos Grill & Pasta House.

“I think we’ve put together something that we think we can do safely,” said Schmesser. “There really is something for everyone just to get people out of the house and head downtown. It’s a little nerve-wracking – we are very much aware that we are still in the middle of a pandemic. We try to do everything very carefully. ”

Schmesser hopes the Ice Festival will mark the beginning of a safe return to a busier calendar of events.

“People have been very patient,” he said. “You need to realize that things are not being done exactly as they were done in the past. We’ll see some things slowly come back. ”

He said it was possible that the Ice Festival could become an annual event in the middle of winter. Interest has been robust, he said. People are keen to see the ice carving demonstrations that take place on Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in various locations around the city center. You can also see the ice sculptures downtown and the Dairy Queen on Belmont Avenue and enjoy a frosty or warming drink in the ice bars Rollie’s and Delvino.

“It’s just kind of aloof, I think, because not a lot of other things are going on and people are looking for things to do,” he said. “Even if there hasn’t been a pandemic, this time of year can be difficult for people. This can be a way to break cabin fever. If we can figure out how to positively associate people with winter, why not? ”

In Skowhegan, Somerset SnowFest ends its weeklong celebration of winter with a hang-gliding derby, downhill kayak race and the only skijoring competition in the northeast.

To comply with COVID-19 security protocols, organizers need to pre-register for activities.

Skijor Skowhegan is a fast-paced time trial race in which a horse and a rider pull a snowboarder or alpine skier over a 300 meter long route with gates and jumps and are not open to the public. Instead, fans are invited to watch the live stream of the event on Main Street Skowhegan’s Facebook page.