BETHEL – The Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce wants to “keep the magic” going with the Bethel WinterFest 2009, scheduled for Jan. 9 to 19 – the magic created by the building of the World’s Tallest SnowWoman in the winter of 2008, that is.

Since a project of that magnitude is out of the question two years in a row, the chamber is taking a different approach. Instead of a 121-foot tall snow woman, the town will boast a half-dozen artistic snow creations designed and produced by some of North America’s most renowned snow & ice sculptors, under the coordination of Ed Jarrett, executive director of the Maine Snow & Ice Sculpting Foundation.

Team Canada made up of Donald Watt, Michael Lane & Peter Lucchetti, winners of the International Snow Sculpture Competition at the Quebec Winter Carnival 2008, will arrive in town Jan. 1 to start carving under a 140-foot tent on Bethel Common.

They will create snow sculptures based on the theme “Four Seasons of Osutdoor Fun.” Among their creations will be bears having fun water-skiing and a moose on an ATV getting ready to jump over another ATV.

“These (sculptures) are big, big, big,” said Robin Zinchuk, executive director of the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce.

The tent where the sculptures will be carved on Bethel Common went up and came down unexpectedly this week, due to blustery winds. Tuesday, construction of the tent began again and by the end of the week snow will be blown into forms to freeze in anticipation of the carvers’ arrival on New Year’s Day.

There will be limited viewing during construction from noon to 6 p.m. Jan. 3-8. People are asked to call 824-2282 before coming. Admission: $1 during construction.

The tent will be open to the public at 5 p.m. Jan. 9. Admission: $3 for adults, $2 for ages 13-18 and 65+ and $1 for ages 3-12; children under 3 admitted free. Tickets will be sold on-site. Hours will begin at 10 a.m. each day and end at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The viewing will end at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 19. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Photo opportunities will be available on either a snowmobile or ATV sculpture. Ticket sales will help defray the $10,000 expense the Chamber of Commerce incurred to put on the event.

Other WinterFest 2009 events: the Bethel Inn Resort will offer ice-skating, sledding,snowshoeing, Nordic skiing and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Many shops and restaurants will be open extended hours on the weekends. Additional events will be held at Sunday River Ski Resort, Mt. Abram Resort, Carter’s and Sunday River Inn cross country ski centers and Sun Valley Sports & Guide Services. For the entire events calendar, log on to www.bethelmaine.com.


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