(L-R) Jesse Wall of TruStrength and Scott Vlaun of CEBE charge up the race course during the annual Snowshoe Festival held at Roberts Farm Preserve.

 

Fashion Show Participant Abby Shedd shows off her vintage winter fashion at the Snowshoe Festival.

NORWAY — Mark your calendars for Saturday, Feb. 17, as the Western Foothills Land Trust kicks off the Norway Winter Carnival week with the 14th Annual Norway Snowshoe Festival. Featuring a variety of races, engaging activities for all ages, and the first-ever Norway Chili Contest, the festivities will unfold at Roberts Farm Preserve, 58 Roberts Road in Norway.

Recognized in 2012 by the Maine Downtown Center as a uniquely Maine festival, the Snowshoe Festival celebrates Norway’s rich cultural heritage, from its musical arts to traditional crafts like snowshoe making.

Once known as ‘The Snowshoe Town of America,’ Norway was home to four major snowshoe industries between 1850 and 1980: Snowcraft, Tubbs, H.H. Hosmer, and Mellie Dunham. Mellie Dunham was not only the first commercial snowshoe maker in town, outfitting Admiral Peary’s expedition to the North Pole; he was also a renowned fiddler, commissioned by Henry Ford to play traditional fiddle music across the country.

The Festival begins on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 10:30 a.m. with the kids’ 2k snowshoe race followed by adult 5k and 10k snowshoe races. Prizes sponsored by Crescent Moon Snowshoes and Healthy Oxford Hills will be awarded in all three categories for top-placing racers.

Registration for the race is $5 for youth and students and $20 for adults. Pre-registration is encouraged; visit www.wfltmaine.org/snowshoe-festival for the sign-up link. The festival also includes a variety of activities and events for spectators and visitors.

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The full schedule of events includes:

● 10:30 a.m.: 2k, 5k, and 10k Snowshoe Races start. Ring a cowbell and cheer on the participants.
● 11-11:45 a.m.: Snowga (yoga on snowshoes) in Akers Field, led by Kat Larsen.
● Noon: Snowshoe Race Awards presentation.
● 12:15 p.m.: Norway Chili and beer tent opens to the public for tasting. Sponsored by Norway Brewing Company, come taste a variety of chili dishes with fresh-baked bread from Standard Baking Company for a suggested donation of $5/person. Enjoy a delicious beer from Norway Brewing Company to complement your chili. Vote for your favorite to win the People’s Choice award.
● 12:30-2:30 p.m.: Seth Gallant performs live music while the chili and beer tent is open.
● 12:30 p.m.: Tug-O-War to benefit local organizations. Watch your favorite club, fire department, or community organization compete to see who is the strongest. The winning team receives the total registration fees for this event for their organization or a charity of their choice. $10/team of 5, visit www.wfltmaine.org/snowshoe-festival for registration.
● 1 p.m.: Snowshoe Fashion Show. Strut your stuff on the snowshoe catwalk, with prizes awarded by Fiber & Vine in the categories of Vintage, High Fashion, and Handmade.
● 1:30 p.m.: Announcement of Fashion Show winners and People’s Choice chili winners.
● 2:30 p.m.: Last call for beer and chili before the Festival ends at 3 p.m.

Throughout the afternoon, there will also be kids’ games including the 100-yard dash, pulk-pull, and musical chairs, all on snowshoes. Norway Brewing Company will provide popcorn and cider for all participants.

Snowshoes are available to the public all day long at the Roberts Farm Warming Hut. For those who would like to hit the trails during or after the festivities, Nordic ski gear will also be available to rent for free from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The 2024 festival sponsors include Norway Brewing Company, WOXO, Crescent Moon Snowshoes, Healthy Oxford Hills, Lights Out Gallery, True North Adventureware, Fiber & Vine, Tru Strength Athletics, The Raven Collections, Handmade Maine, Cafe Nomad, and Kat Larsen Yoga.

The full schedule of events can be found at www.wfltmaine.org/snowshoe-festival. For more information or to volunteer for the festival, email info@wfltmaine.org.

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