South Portland prepares for 4th annual WinterFest

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SOUTH PORTLAND — WinterFest will return Friday and Saturday, Jan. 29 and 30, with nearly two days of seasonal activities, including ice skating, snow shoeing and horse-drawn carriage rides. 

Hosted by the city Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department and the Rotary Club of South Portland and Cape Elizabeth, the fourth annual event is supported exclusively by donations from area residents and businesses.

Last year, Rotary raised about $20,000, attendance exceeded 2,200 people and more than 60 businesses were involved. 

Festivities will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, with a block party in Knightville, where local businesses will open their doors for in-store specials. Activities will continue at Mill Creek Park with ice skating at 6 p.m., accompanied by s’mores and hot chocolate, courtesy of Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution and South Portland Cape Elizabeth Buy Local. 

On Saturday from 8-10:30 a.m. there will be a pancake breakfast at the South Portland Community Center, 21 Nelson Road, with live bluegrass and folk music from the local band Seagrass. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. 

The rest of the day’s events will take place at the Wainwright Recreation Complex, on Gary L. Maietta Parkway, off Highland Avenue. The annual chili and chowder challenge will run from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., followed by ice skating and snow shoeing with free equipment rentals.

Food trucks will be at the complex from noon-8 p.m. selling hot drinks, lunch and dessert items. A cardboard sled contest starts at 4 p.m. and, at 6:15 p.m., WinterFest will culminate with fireworks by Central Maine Pyrotechnics. 

A full schedule of events can be found on the WinterFest Facebook page

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA

South Portland residents Cadence Kessler, 4, and mother Jessica Kessler join in the skating party at Mill Creek Park in South Portland during last year’s WinterFest, when the festivities were delayed a week by a snowstorm. This year’s celebration is scheduled for Jan. 29 and 30.

South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.