WATERVILLE — The colder months have descended upon central Maine, but that doesn’t mean the options for outdoor family fun are subsiding, and that was evident Saturday at the Quarry Road Trails recreation area.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, families from across central Maine flocked to the Waterville outdoor recreation area for the organization’s Fall Festival. While the overall goal of the festival — which is in its third year — is to act as an open house event for Quarry Road Trails, this year Inland Hospital was a partner in the festival as part of its Family Fun Series, which aims to promote ways families can remain active.

“It’s always good to collaborate with things that are already happening and encourage families locally to get out here and explore the resources that are here,” said Ellen Wells, Inland Hospital Community Wellness Team Leader.

As the sun broke through overcast skies in midday, giggles and music floated around a host of activities for children of all ages. From pumpkin bowling, to apple slinging, to a hay bale maze and pumpkin tic-tac-toe, the festival’s offerings covered all the bases of autumn-themed fun.

“It’s simple fun. It’s not anything that’s real complicated or expensive. It’s simple fun that people can do in their own backyards,” Wells said.

Quarry Road Trails is run as a partnership between the city of Waterville, which owns the 220-acre area, and the Friends of Quarry Road, a nonprofit that works to assist in raising money for the park and to oversee its operations and upkeep.

In addition to hiking and biking trails, Quarry Road features more than 5 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails along with 2 miles of ungroomed snowshoe trails. Ski passes and rental equipment for use of the cross-country trail can be bought at Quarry Road’s Welcome Yurt. The Friends of Quarry Road were at the yurt selling discounted passes, which will be on sale until Dec. 1.

Festival-goers said the event opened their eyes to the amount of year-round recreational offerings Quarry Road boasts. Winslow resident Rene Smiley was in attendance Saturday with her 7-year-old son, Eliott Stepp, and said while she hadn’t explored Quarry Road much previously, she and her son were delighted to discover the extensive trail network.

“I didn’t realize that these trails just went out forever. So it was really nice to see, especially before winter, to kind of get a lay of the land,” Smiley said.

Betty Anne Holfmann, of Skowhegan, brought her grandchildren, who were visiting from Portland, to partake in the fun. While her husband and her grandson were out on the trails participating in an orienteering activity, Holfmann and her 4-year-old granddaughter, Parker, were taking a snack break after trying their hand at the apple-sling station.

Holfmann said she was excited to learn that use of Quarry Road’s snowshoe trails was free and kid-friendly.

“What’s really nice is that i realized how safe it is for kids,” Holfmann said. “I love stuff for families and kids. It’s wonderful.”

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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