WATERVILLE — The rain and wind that has left many without power this week subsided on Saturday, leaving the sun shining and a crisp late-morning breeze for the annual Quarry Road Trails Fall Festival.

The morning kicked off at 10 a.m. with a 5K and 1-mile fun run, with approximately 40 participants of all ages. Prizes were awarded for the first-, second- and third-place finishers through a donation from New Balance.

A hay-bale maze was set up Saturday for children to walk through. Morning Sentinel photo by Taylor Abbott

“The turnout for the race was much greater than we expected,” Program Director Justin Fereshetian said.

From there, the festival offered an array of family-friendly events, including art projects, a hay-bale maze, pumpkin bowling, face painting and apple launching.

Nestled under a pop-up tent was Liz Davis, Waterville Public Library’s children’s librarian, where she read stories including “This Tree Counts,” and handed out leftover Halloween candy. The library hosts weekly events on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and the schedule can be found online at watervillelibrary.org.

Next to Davis’ tent was Yvonne Brown and Serena Sanborn from Waterville Creates!, where the two offered spray bottle art and collaging with leaves.

“Connecting the kids with the outdoors and doing art outside is what makes this so great,” said Brown, who is the clay studio manager.

Quarry Road Trails hosted the annual event with help from several community sponsors, including Waterville Creates!, Central Maine Ski Club, Waterville Public Library, Kennebec Messalonskee Trails, MaineGeneral Health, Mathieu’s Cycle & Fitness Store, and Northern Light Inland Hospital.

Though the original schedule called for an interactive trail walk, the event was rescheduled due to a tree-cutting project to widen the trail. In its place was a golden pine cone scavenger hunt, where families walked through the South Koons trail looking for 14 gold-painted pine cones hidden along the one-mile trail. Those who found one of the pine cones entered a raffle for a chance to win a ski pass or a municipal pool pass.

The original event, planned by Colby College, will be available within the next week or two, according to Fereshetian. Once the trail-widening is complete, visitors can download an app onto their phone to identify up to 24 of the trail’s features.

This weekend’s fall festival was Fereshetian’s first in his position, as he only started his job earlier this week. Though he is still learning the ropes, he hopes to expand on the programming that Quarry Road Trails offers in order to attract more visitors.

“I certainly want to see this place continue to thrive like it has and hope to put an emphasis on showing that it is seen as a four-season destination,” he said earlier this week.

“Everything is going great so far; I have been trying to meet with as many people as I can,” Fereshetian said.

Fereshetian, who previously worked as the Nordic development director/head coach and initiative coordinator at the Outdoor Sport Institute in Caribou, has been spending his first few days trying to become more acclimated in the community.

“One of the bigger challenges that I’ll have is managing our base of volunteers. There’s a large amount of them that have helped organize this,” he said. “Our volunteers have been so awesome, a lot of the work has essentially been done by them as I just stepped into my job and it’s like I’m just stepping in to help.”

Those interested in volunteering for Quarry Road Trails are encouraged to get in touch with Fereshetian at [email protected] or through the website.

Though the fall festival is over, an array of free winter events will be added to the schedule as the winter season nears.

Volunteers Suzanne Uhl-Melanson and Jeff Melanson have helped out with the fall festival for years and look forward to seeing it continue to grow each year.

“To see it develop through the years is so awesome,” Uhl-Melanson said. “We started volunteering when Quarry Roads was just an idea. We used to go out here mountain biking and hiking when this whole field was grown out.”

“For us to see the development from the first trails cut along the river loop and then to see this festival take off, it’s just so cool. We’ve really seen everything progress.” Uhl-Melanson said.

“The energy that you get just being around the families who are having fun is great,” Jeff Melanson said. “It’s so great just to see these kids getting out into the fresh air, having good, old-fashioned fun.”

Dates for the winter festival have not yet been posted, but Melanson added that snowshoeing on the trails is free, including rentals.

Quarry Road Trails originally opened in the 1930s and has been revived throughout the years. The site is known for its winter activities, including skiing and snowshoeing and is a four-season venue for many activities, including walking, running and biking.

Jack Puffer, a second-grader at Ralph M. Atwood Primary School, tosses a pumpkin down the bowling alley Saturday during the fall festival at Quarry Road Trails in Waterville. Morning Sentinel photo by Taylor Abbott


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