CANAAN — The weeklong Somerset SnowFest celebration wrapped up Sunday with a kite festival at Lake George Regional Park.

Families from across the region joined in on Sunday’s festivities, although the wind was not ideal for flying kites. By midafternoon, about 30 people were on the ice.

Justin Spencer, the park resource manager at Lake George Regional Park, said the kite festival is new this year after organizers considered ideas for expanding the SnowFest. After seeing a similar kite parade done annually in South Portland, he began to research more.

A 20-foot octopus kite takes flight Sunday as Sam Voter, center, releases the kite during the Somerset SnowFest Kite Festival at Lake George Regional Park East in Canaan. Voter, a member of the Skowhegan Area High School National Honor Society, and five others from the school’s NHS teamed up to fly the large kite. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

“I’m always looking to build and add things (to SnowFest.) Last year, we added the downhill kayak race,” Spencer said. “I saw that there was a kite festival in Maine every May, and that it was pretty popular. After that, I was looking and saw some out in the Midwest, and they were actually anchoring the kites in the ice and they’d fly by themselves.”

From there, Spencer and other began organizing a similar event at Lake George Regional Park East.

“When I saw that, I thought: ‘Wow, that is totally awesome. I have a vision of that here,'” Spencer said. “We have so much room. With two sides of the park, it would fit all the people, it would be easy to do and that’s what we’re hoping for next year.”

The event is part of the weeklong Somerset SnowFest, which began last weekend with an ice fishing derby in Canaan and offers a series of activities and events.

SnowFest is organized by Main Street Skowhegan and Lake George Regional Park, with the Hight Family of Dealerships a major partner. A cross-country ski and fat tire biking biathlon was held Sunday morning at Lake George Regional Park West, as was a winter nature craft event.

Events in this years’ SnowFest have been modified from previous years to follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

Jake Miller, 1, of Athens holds the string to his kite Sunday before flying it with his mother, Carrie, during the Somerset SnowFest Kite Festival at Lake George Regional Park East in Canaan. Jale and his mother were flying the multicolored kite after pulling their sled across the lake. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Vicki Tuttle of Hartland was on the lake Sunday with three of her grandchildren, each with their own kite. She showed them how to catch the wind and get the kites into the air. The ideal weather for this is usually light-to-moderate winds, although a lack of gusts Sunday made it difficult to keep them flying.

Although wind conditions were not ideal for flying kites, families and groups of friends spent the afternoon testing kites of different sizes. The event also offered food vendors and music.

“We hope next year is going to be the year that it blows up,” Spencer said. “We wanted to get some attention for it this year, and get it on everybody’s radar to see what it’s all about.”

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