WATERVILLE — Bundle up and enjoy everything from cross country skiing to sledding and snowshoe races.
That’s what organizers of the fourth annual Waterville Winter Carnival are touting for Saturday’s festivities at Quarry Road Recreation Area.
With new snowmaking equipment in operation and many volunteers on hand to help with activities, the carnival is expected to draw hundreds of adults and children from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for family fun.
There are even a few surprises in store.
“We’re having snow golf,” said Ellen Wells, a Friends of Quarry Road board member, who also is community wellness coordinator for Inland Hospital.
While Wells did not want to give away too many details, she said snow golf is a putting game involving snowmen and special balls.
“You have to come and find out,” she said.
Skis, snowshoes and sleds will be on hand for those who do not have them. The Central Maine Ski Club will teach children how to ski and offer a ski wax demonstration, according to Caroline Mathes, a coach, co-coordinator of the ski club and area board member.
The Colby College Outing Club will coordinate snowshoe races, she said.
“It’s not going to be a timed race; it’s for all ages,” Mathes said.
Mathes, who also owns CM Mathes Recovery Foods, is donating a “healthier version of cocoa” for adults and children.
“It has less sugar and a little more protein,” she said.
Local restaurants also are providing everything from free chili and stew to coffee and cookies.
“We have a new design for our tree maze, to be sure to get people all mixed up and spun around,” said Matt Skehan, the city’s parks and recreation director, who also is a Quarry Road board member.”
Drawings will be held for items including a month’s membership to Champions Fitness Center, a night at a condominium at Sugarloaf, a pair of snowshoes from Joseph’s Sporting Goods, adventure land birthday party at the Alfond Center, and a family season pass to the city’s outdoor municipal pool.
The Kennebec Valley Community Action Program and Central Maine Motors Auto group are providing shuttle service to the recreation area from MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Campus off North Street as well as from Quarry Road, where people may park vehicles.
While admission to the carnival is free, donations are accepted for trail maintenance and people may buy Quarry Road Recreation Area support stickers for $20 and up, according to Mathes.
The carnival is sponsored by Friends of Quarry Road and the city, in collaboration with the Central Maine Ski Club, Kennebec Messalonskee Trails, Inland Hospital, Alfond Youth Center and other local organizations.
Skehan said organizers are enthusiastic, not only about the carnival, but about the recreation area itself.
“I’m so glad to be part of it and have it be part of my job, because it’s a jewel,” he said. “There are so many opportunities for outdoor recreation out there.”
Wells said it is surprising how many area residents have not visited Quarry Road, and Saturday’s event is a good opportunity for them to familiarize themselves with the facility.
“There will be more activity there next summer around biking and bike paths. It really, truly will be four-season. It’ll be a place for people to enjoy, year-round.”
Amy Calder — 861-9247