BREWER, Maine — Two dragons began to emerge from ice along the Penobscot River on Friday as ice sculptor Jeff Day used his chain saw and hand tools to create the fantasy creatures to kick off the city’s annual winter festival.
“We have a couple of dragons that are going to be flying down, swooping down” into the parking lot of the Muddy Rudder, said Day, who had his helper, Kory Bradley, working into the night on the ice creatures.
Day, of Ice Designs in New Hampshire, brought more than 10,000 pounds of crystal-clear ice to the seventh annual Penobscot River Winterfest, a two-day celebration held along the river, at the Brewer Auditorium and Doyle Field.
The snow that fell Thursday and Friday morning added an extra level of fun to the event, Tanya Pereira, Brewer economic development deputy director and event organizer, said Friday.
“We’re hoping a good crowd will show up for some winter fun,” she said, adding the event is geared toward bringing together people of all ages from all around the region.
The 2009 Penobscot River Winterfest features a chili or chowder “people’s choice” cook-off, dancing, ice sculptures, children’s events — sledding and skating, and games inside the Brewer Auditorium — and other activities geared toward family, she said.
Those with a hankering for homemade chili or chowder should head to the back porch of the Muddy Rudder at noon today for the annual cook-off.
“It’s not often that you get a free lunch,” Pereira said, inviting people to the free cook-off.
Saturday’s events start at 8 a.m. with the Brewer Kiwanis Club’s annual French toast breakfast downstairs at the Brewer Auditorium. At the same time, the first coed softball game will begin as six local teams battle for the Winterfest title.
Children and their parents are encouraged to head to the Brewer Auditorium for four hours of free games and family activities offered by Penquis, beginning at 9 a.m.
While people enjoy free chili-chowder lunch, they can watch as amateur ice sculptors, competing for a trophy, carve away at their creations along the riverfront.
Awards for the cook-off and carving competitions are scheduled to be given out around 2:30 p.m.
Winterfest ends with the Winter Snowball Dance from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday upstairs at the Muddy Rudder, which includes dance lessons, hors d’oeuvres and happy-hour drink prices. Tickets costing $20 per person, $35 per couple or $140 for a table of eight are still available. All of the proceeds benefit the Penquis Keep Kids Warm fund, which provides heating assistance to families in need, Pereira said.
“The more money we can raise, the more money that can be used to keep kids warm this winter,” she said.
The schedule of events for Saturday’s Winterfest 2009 follows:
— 8-10 a.m., French toast breakfast, Brewer Auditorium, $5 adult, $3 children.
— 8 a.m., softball tournament, Doyle Field.
— 9 a.m.-1 p.m., family activities and games, Brewer Auditorium.
— 10 a.m.-2 p.m., ice carving competition and displays, Muddy Rudder.
— Noon-2 p.m., chili and chowder cook-off, Muddy Rudder.
— 2:30 p.m., announcement and presentation of awards, Muddy Rudder.
— 7-11 p.m., Winter Snowball Dance, Chamberlain Room, Muddy Rudder.
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