Moon rises over Casco Bay as seen through a leaf-barren tree at Fort Allen Park. Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

In past years, putting together this roundup of winter events meant previewing things like outdoor festivals celebrating the snow, ice bars at restaurants and resorts, and the annual U.S. National Toboggan Championships at the Camden Snow Bowl. And then the pandemic came knocking, putting our ability to gather on ice. But there are still plenty of ways to make the most of winter.

Many of those events have been postponed for a year, which means this year’s slate looks a lot different. But will that stop us hardy Mainers from celebrating winter? Heck, no! Pandemic or not, we’ve still got full moons, starry skies and other reasons to skip in our Bean Boots (though some more snow would help a lot). So, let us forge ahead (safely) with what’s left of winter and make the most of this wondrous season.

The moon seen from Scarborough. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Full Moon Walk
4:30 p.m. Thursday and Feb. 27. Eastern Trail, Pine Point parking area, Scarborough, preregistration required, free. easterntrail.org
Leave your pooch and your flashlight at home but feel free to howl during the full moon walk along the marsh of Scarborough’s Eastern Trail. Masks and social distancing are required, as are a sense of adventure and wonderment. All told, the Eastern Trail is 22 miles long, stretching from South Portland to Kennebunk. On these full moon walks, you’ll see a little bit of it but can always come back for more.

Hiker wearing snow shoes, walking across a snow-covered tundra in a wild winter landscape at night. Henrik A. Jonsson/Shutterstock.com

Snowshoe Safari
5-7 p.m. Saturday, and Feb. 17 and 27. Sugarloaf Mountain, 5092 Access Road, Carrabassett Valley, $35 guide and snowshoe rentals. sugarloaf.com
Beneath the light of that big, glowing hunk of cheese, you’ll be led through winding, woodland trails at Sugarloaf’s Outdoor Center. Headlamps are encouraged on the snowy trek and the adventure is geared toward outdoor types ages 12 and up. Upon return from the snowshoe safari, your heart and soul will feel full and your belly will follow, as you’ll seal the deal with a cookie and hot chocolate. Masks and required and be sure to preregister. For kids 5 and up, a free Storytime Snowshoe Safari ($5-$15 charge for snowshoe rental) is scheduled for Feb. 18, with small groups leaving every 10 minutes, from 1-1:30 p.m.

A boardwalk leads the way to the beach at Kinney Shores in Saco. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Ph

Full Moon Snowshoe Walk
6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26. Wells Reserve at Laudholm, $7, $15 family, open to ages 12 and up. wellsreserve.org
Don’t let the name of this event trip you up; if there’s no snow on the ground, you’ll simply proceed sans snowshoes. Either way, a full moon is a full moon, and it’s always best to be outside to fully experience the magic of one. While on the walk, you’ll learn about the phases of the moon and will hear ancient moon stories. Best of all, you’ll be beneath the comforting glow of the largest natural satellite in our solar system. Dress warmly and plan on keeping appropriate distance from others while wearing a face covering. Heck, maybe you’ve got a moon mask! Reach out to Wells Reserve in advance to reserve a pair of snowshoes, as they’ve got a few to lend for a $5 fee.

This year’s Flavors of Freeport has two tasty elements. Gulcin Ragiboglu/Shutterstock.com

Flavors of Freeport
Feb. 1-28, throughout Freeport. visitfreeport.com
Although the annual dance party with Motor Booty Affair and the Fire & Ice party are on hold until next year, you can still please your palate with a modified version of Flavors of Freeport. This year, there’s a pair of monthlong events for you to partake in on your own time. Freeport on the Menu runs for the entire month of February, and several Freeport restaurants, makers and purveyors will have special menu items and new products that are either grown or made locally. (One tempting example is the Maine Maple Latte at Coffee By Design.) Find out more at visitfreeport.com/events/freeportonthemenu. You can also play a little game that Visit Freeport whipped up called Freeport Foodie Lotto. You’ll collect entry stickers from participating local businesses by shopping or dining there, then submit them (by March 1) for a chance to win a cool $1,000 from Visit Freeport and Kennebunk Savings Bank. A partial list of spots to hit includes Athena’s Cantine, Freeport Community Services, ZesTea Freeport and Casco Bay Cutlery & Kitchenware. Get the complete lotto lowdown at visitfreeport.com/events/freeport-food-lotto.

Keep your fingers crossed for snow. Rusha/Shutterstock.com

Winterfest 2021 Backyard Challenge
Feb. 6. facebook.com/SouthPortlandWinterFest
The annual South Portland Winterfest has shifted to at-home experiences called the Backyard Challenge. There are no residency requirements, so anyone can join in the fun. Prizes will be given to the three best snowmen, outdoor family adventures and cardboard sleds. Share your photos by the end of the day on the South Portland Winterfest Facebook page using the #sopowinterfest hashtag to put your family in contention for a prize. Keep an eye on that page for changes in contest parameters, should there be a lack of snow. Winterfest is presented by The Rotary Club of South Portland/Cape Elizabeth and the City of South Portland.

Snow flies from the tire of a fat bike. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Fat Tire Race
10 a.m. Feb. 7. Sugarloaf Mountain, 5092 Access Road, Carrabassett Valley, $45, $10 for 16 and under. sugarloaf.com
If you’re all about fat-tire bicycles, maybe the 2021 Carrabassett Fat Tire Race is calling your name? Be sure to register by Feb. 5. You can choose from the shorter 9- to 10-mile course or the longer 19- to 20-mile one in men’s and women’s categories. The shorter route will also be open to riders under 16. Sugarloaf will share the exact routes a few days before race day after assessing trail conditions. Now get it in gear and get ready for some serious traction action, because fat-tired bikes make the rockin’ world go round!

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