WELD — Attendance may have been down at the 11th Annual Take It Outside: Winter Family Fun Day at Mt. Blue State Park Saturday, but everyone there was having a good time.

Park Manager Bruce Farnham blamed the drop in attendance on the cold.

“It’s still a good crowd. Everybody’s having fun. You have to take whatever Mother Nature throws at us,” Farnham said.

He appreciated all the help he got from volunteers and staff from other parks.

“That’s the key. We couldn’t do this without them,” Farnham said.

For some visitors, it was their first time at the event. Others have been coming for several years.

Lexy Moore of Skowhegan tried one of the fat bikes provided by Northern Lights Hearth and Sports of Farmington.

Ayden Baker of Mexico and Heath Ilyas of Rumford scampered in and out of a snow cave.

This was the third year for Amy Espeaignnette of Jay.

“It’s nice that they put this on,” she said.

For the Arnold family from Skowhegan, this was also the third year. Some liked the skating best while others liked the skiing. The warming hut was Abbie’s favorite.

Henry Bernard of South Portland went cross country skiing while his aunt, Purse Drapeau, helped with the lunch. He was excited to have found one of the Junior Ranger badges that had been hidden.

Dawn Girardin of Weld was there with her family. She watched them skate and later the grandchildren were seen sliding on the trail farther up Center Hill.

“It’s been a cold winter. There’s not much snow,” she said.

Madeline Bujold of Weld stopped by on her snowmobile. She was excited to announce the Weld Winter Wildcats Snowmobile Club had recently reactivated. Forty-two people from Weld, Carthage and Wilton attended the first meeting, she said. They discussed trails and chose a slate of officers.

“They’re all young local people. I’m thrilled,” Bujold said.

Charlie Lavin of Wilton rode a fat bike for the first time. He fell once but got back on.

“The snow is soft. The bike is pretty easy to maneuver. It’s kind of neat,” he said.

Makayla Harding of Rumford petted a stuffed coyote at a winter habitat display. Her father said they often come to skate, but this was their first time at the Winter Family Fun Day.

“This is the best place to skate. It’s awesome,” he said.

Park Ranger Jason Cuthbertson was driving one of three snowmobiles giving rides for sledders to get to the top of the hill. As soon as a machine returned to the bottom, eager sledders would hop on again. 

Cuthbertson said the trails had been quite fast, so they groomed them. The resulting powder slowed things down. 

Fewer people were also seen at the sledding area this year, although several families arrived during the afternoon.

“We usually average about 30 miles per machine each year. I’m at 23 now (at just before 2 p.m.), so we’re on par,” Cuthbertson said.

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Ayden Baker of Mexico, left, and Heath Ilyas of Rumford emerge from a snow cave at Mount Blue State Park Headquarters in Weld on Saturday during the 1th Annual Take It Outside: Winter Family Fun Day. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser) 

Henry Bernard of South Portland makes his way around a cross-country ski trail during the 11th Annual Take It Outside: Winter Family Fun Day at Mount Blue State Park in Weld on Saturday. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

Makayla Harding of Rumford pets a stuffed coyote at a winter habitat display at Mount Blue State Park in Weld on Saturday during the 11th Annual Take It Outside: Winter Family Fun Day.(Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

Charlie Lavin of Wilton rides a fat bike during the 11th Annual Take It Outside: Winter Family Fun Day at Mount Blue State Park in Weld on Saturday. The bike ride was “kind of neat,” Lavin said. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)


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