WELD — The 10th annual Take It Outside Winter Family Fun Day at Mount Blue State Park saw hundreds of visitors enjoying a variety of activities.

Gary Best of Maine Bureau of Parks stepped in to oversee the event when Park Manager Bruce Farnham was called away on a family emergency. 

“I look forward to it every year,” Best said. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase what the parks have to offer and celebrate winter. Everyone looks forward to it. I see families returning year after year. It’s become a tradition.” 

Park staff and volunteers from around the state come together each year for the special day. Some helped novices with equipment. Several prepared and helped serve the meal. Others gave snowmobile rides or provided information about the various displays.

Chris Chadbourne of Sanford showed attendees how to use a loon caller, which consists of a large disc with two holes in it through which string is threaded and attached to two handles. After winding it up, the handles are pulled outward. If used correctly, a loon’s call is heard.

Cross-country skis and snowshoes were provided for visitors to use, free of charge. Skates were also available.

Cross-country skiing was a popular draw as people waited in line to change into boots and get fitted with skis.

Teagen Landry of Vienna carefully used ski poles to make her way around the track although she had given up on using the skis. This was her first time at the Fun Day — and her first year on skis. 

Several visitors tried out fat bikes provided by Northern Lights Hearth and Sports.

Julia Libby of Windham tried out a bike for the first time. After wiping out, she got right back on the bike and finished the loop.

“This is my first time here,” Libby said. “My uncle comes every year.” 

Donna Wuori of Jay was seen returning from a trip on one of the park’s many snowmobile trails. It was her fourth time on snowshoes.

Wilton Lions Club member Ken Wiley was one of several volunteers cooking hot dogs and hamburgers for the crowd. The wind forced them to move the grills into a garage.

“It’s good to see everybody outside,” Wiley said.

Chainsaw sculptor John Arsenault drew a crowd as he began working on a large piece of wood. In just a few minutes, the outline of a bear holding a fish was recognizable. 

His wife, Nancy Arsenault, said it takes about five to six hours from start to finish to complete a sculpture, depending on how much detail it has.

Cheryl Mills, librarian at Spruce Mountain Primary School in Livermore, read a book about hockey at the school last week. She saw several of her students at the Fun Day.   

“What a great opportunity this is,” Mills said.

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