SKOWHEGAN — Lake George Regional Park will begin celebrating its 20th anniversary Saturday with the park’s annual ice fishing derby and winter carnival.

Look for big fish, hot chili, sled box races and new maps of the 320-acre park during the 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. event

“This is affordable family fun at its best,” park director Jeff McCabe said.

McCabe said Hight auto dealerships of Skowhegan is the event sponsor this year, providing money to cover expenses.

“Without this help we would struggle getting the event off the ground,” he said. “While we could really use more cash donations this week, we have set a standard for the event and we plan to live up to that standard.”

Saturday begins on the ice with registration in all classes for the ice fishing derby near the boat launch. The derby fee is $5. Derby prizes will be awarded at 3 p.m.

* Food will be on sale by Canaan/Cornville Cub Scouts starting mid-morning Saturday in the warming hut on the west side of the lake.

* Registration for the popular Sled Box Derby Race is 10 a.m., with judging starting at 10:30 a.m.

Awards will be given for best crash, most creative sled box, best looking and longest sliding sled. Contest rules say the sled must be a cardboard box, with no skis or plastic sleds.

“Most important — be creative with decorations,” McCabe said.

* The Semper Fidelis ladies club will be toasting marshmallows and making s’mores.

* The Chili Cook Off starts at 10 a.m. with judging around 11 a.m. Entry fee is $5 and the chili must be in a container that can be warmed over a wood fire.

* Skiing and snow-shoeing trails will be open all day; new maps will show where all the trails are.

Lake George Regional Park serves communities within a 50-mile radius of Skowhegan and Canaan, according to McCabe. Each year a combination of roughly 20,000 community members and visitors use the lake, public boat launch and the surrounding land for swimming, fishing, picnicking, boating, hiking, skiing, playing fields and group-use facilities, he said.

The event is put on by volunteers with donations from individuals and businesses. To help with the annual event Saturday, call McCabe at 399-3185.

The lakeside park off U.S. Route 2 is owned by the state of Maine and leased to the towns of Skowhegan and Canaan. The park is managed by the Lake George Corp., whose members are appointed in equal numbers from both towns.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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