WATERVILLE — Volunteer Crystal Shamas-Douglas said the cold and the snow weren’t enough to keep her from helping at the Quarry Road winter carnival Saturday, and she was excited to see that area families also were undeterred by the weather.

“I’m just thrilled by how many people are out trying something new,” she said, pointing out the parents and children trying skiing and snowshoeing.

Shamas-Douglas was one of dozens of volunteers who helped run the annual carnival Saturday afternoon at the Quarry Road Recreation Area.

Though temperatures dipped into the teens, hundreds of Waterville area residents came out for the day’s events, which included cross-country skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, winter bike demonstrations, dog sled rides, a bonfire and a Christmas tree maze. Volunteers said they were pleased to see a mix of regular visitors and new faces trying out the different activities.

“That’s why we have this event, to introduce people to outdoor sports,” said Barbara Allen, of the Friends of Quarry Road fundraising committee.

Matt Skehan, director of the Waterville Public Works Department, said this was the first year organizers didn’t try to keep a formal head count of attendees, but estimated 800 to 1,000 people came out for the festivities.

“The turnout has been great, considering how chilly it is,” Skehan said.

He said the dedication of the volunteers is what propelled the day’s events.

“The volunteers started coming out around 7 or 8 a.m. Most signed up for a one- or two-hour shift, but they’re still here,” he said.

The events were intended to promote the 230-acre city-owned recreation area off North Street that the city maintains with the Friends of Quarry Road and the Central Maine Ski Club.

The land was once the site of Colby College’s alpine ski slope, but in recent years it has been brought back with Nordic ski trails for the winter sport, as well as space for four seasons of activities such as hiking, bicycling, walking and snowshoeing.

Event volunteer Suzanne Uhl-Melanson said she has volunteered with the carnival every year with her husband. Over the years, she said, the recreation area has grown from just a shed and the access road to the miles of cut trails that are groomed and maintained with snowmaking equipment.

“We’re out here using the trails all the time, so it’s a way to give back,” she said.

Tim LeCrone, board member with Friends of Quarry Road, said they hope to maintain sustainable growth at the recreation area, balancing growth in popularity with growth in money and support for the area.

LeCrone pointed to a drawing of a proposed lodge that he said the group hopes to build eventually at the area.

“With this event, we want to spotlight what we have out here,” he said. “It’s to get people to get out, be active, be healthy and get outdoors.”

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

kschroeder@centralmaine.com