Here comes Somerset SnowFest.

The three-day, multi-venue event, in which Lake George Regional Park’s annual winter carnival and ice fishing derby joins forces with Main Street Skowhegan for a festival that celebrates all things winter, is set for Feb. 8 through 10.

SnowFest, now in its inaugural year, promises activities in Skowhegan, Canaan and Madison that will include dog sled rides, skating, tubing and the Northeast’s only skijoring competition — a ski and equestrian event — said Kristina Cannon, executive director at the nonprofit Main Street Skowhegan.

It’s the ultimate cabin fever reliever, she said.

“We’re really excited to collaborate with Lake George to get people outside and active in February at a time when cabin fever is no joke,” Cannon said. “Lots of exciting stuff.”

The Lake George winter carnival, now in its 27th year, has been expanded in collaboration with Main Street, Eaton Mountain Ski Area, Coburn Park and the Lakewood Golf Course in Madison, Cannon said.

“Compared to summer, winter has less going on and is not as profitable for merchants, so we wanted to create an event that would get people outside in the coldest and darkest time of the year while hopefully increasing revenue for locally owned businesses,” she said. “We figured what better way than to partner with Lake George, which already runs a successful annual event, and expand on this event to include a weekend full of activities.”

Other partners to host activities include the Jim Browne Foundation at Lakewood Golf Course for cross country skiing and a brunch walk on Sunday, the Skowhegan Community Center for ice skating and 3-on-3 hockey and The Miller’s Table at the Somerset Grist Mill in downtown Skowhegan for a snowman competition Friday and an ice bar — a bar made out of ice — for food and live music.

Darryll White,who took over as top administrator at Lake George Regional Park last year, said the move to join Main Street Skowhegan makes good sense, and he believes attendance will be up at the park because of it.

A competitor in the box sled races zips through a spray of snow in 2016 at the annual winter carnival at Lake George Regional Park in Skowhegan.

“Increased collaboration with Main Street Skowhegan was a goal of mine for Lake George from the beginning of my tenure,” White said. “This event is a fantastic opportunity to work together and take what Lake George has done in the past with its winter carnival and expand on it. Main Street Skowhegan is fantastic at organizing and marketing events, and I couldn’t think of a better ally.

“Lake George is a regional park, thus we feel right at home promoting a regional event and working together with the neighbors in our community.”

Many of the activities are free, and some require advanced registration, which can be done online at

In addition to the Lake George ice fishing derby and popular box sled races, the other featured event of the weekend is Skijor Skowhegan, which is a team, time-trial race, where a horse and rider pull a snowboarder or alpine skier down a 1,000-foot track of gates and three 2-foot jumps. Skijor Skowhegan is the only equestrian skijoring race in the Northeast. Competitors will compete for cash and other prizes.

Skijoring means “ski driving” in the Norwegian language and is a popular sport in the Scandinavian countries, according to Cannon. If there are proceeds from the event, they will be split between the two organizations, helping to run and maintain Lake George Regional Park and to continue revitalization efforts in Skowhegan, Cannon said.

Events get underway Feb. 8 with a “Trail of Lights” all over downtown Skowhegan.

The ice fishing derby at Lake George is from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The Box Sled Derby runs from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., followed by a chili cook-off from 10 a.m. until noon and the Family Adventure Race from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Skijor Skowhegan is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Eaton Mountain. There also will be trail events at Weston Woods and Water in Madison on Saturday.

Dog sled rides will be held Sunday morning at Coburn Park.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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