Portland welcomes inaugural Winterfest on Friday

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PORTLAND — Participants will be able to slide it, shoot it, sculpt it or search for it at the first-ever Portland Winterfest beginning Friday, Jan. 23.

Organized by Portland’s Downtown District, the festival opens with the Winterfest Rail Jam from 5-7 p.m. on Spring Street between Center and Union streets. Snowboarders sponsored by Long’s Board Shop of South Portland will perform jumps and tricks on a rail course set up by Bridgton-based Shawnee Peak.

The eastbound lanes of Spring Street will be closed from Union to Center streets from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday to make room for the Rail Jam.

On Saturday, Winterfest moves uphill to Congress Square, where the Friends of Congress Square Park will sponsor a snow-sculpting competition beginning at 8 a.m. Teams of up to 10 people will be supplied a pile of snow to shape to their own creative whims, while the Friends supply music and hot chocolate.

Awards will be presented at 3 p.m. Saturday. For more contest information and registration, contact David LaCasse at loafinit@gmail.com or 831-1980.

At Monument Square, meanwhile, visitors can try to beat a Portland Pirates’ goalie in the Portland Pirates Hockey Shot from 1-4 p.m. City-based WinterKids will also be on hand to promote outdoor activities with stickers, raffles and more.

A scavenger hunt will be held throughout the weekend, with clues delivered via a smart-phone app available from www.socialscavenger.com. Codes to open the game will be available Thursday, Jan. 22, on the festival website and on Facebook. Hunters who earn at least 20 points will be entered into drawings for prize packages that will also be announced Thursday.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.