County weekend features singing, snowmobiling

Posted Feb. 04, 2010, at 9:51 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:34 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — It will be a busy weekend in Aroostook County as snowmobilers, singers and ice fishermen are expected to flock to various towns to take part in winter activities.

In Houlton, the town is set to kick off Moosestompers Weekend today.

On Saturday morning, the sixth annual Andy Santerre Sno-Run will begin in Presque Isle, and on Saturday evening, the United Way of Aroostook will launch the first ever Northern Star vocal competition in Houlton.

The International Snowmobile Festival, which takes place in Madawaska and Canada, begins today and runs through Sunday.

Having taken place for more than a decade, Moosestompers Weekend is a popular winter fete chock-full of activities to get people out of their homes and enjoying the outdoors. This weekend, participants will have a chance to take part in a snowmobile parade, an ice-fishing derby, public skating and outdoor sliding. Other popular activities, such as a children’s half-dollar scramble, laser tag and free movies also will take place.

For a complete schedule, go to www.moosestompers.com.

The sixth annual Andy Santerre Sno-Run Charity Snowmobile Ride and Auction will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center. The ride begins at 10 a.m., and the dinner and auction begin at 7 p.m. The event benefits Aroostook Mental Health Center Sexual Assault Services.

Santerre is a Cherryfield native and a four-time NASCAR Camping World Series East champion and the 1998 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year.

The snowmobile ride starts and ends at the Caribou Inn with a stop for lunch at the Washburn Trailrunners clubhouse. After the ride, an autograph session will be followed by a buffet dinner and auction.

Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt and a former Andy Santerre Motorsports driver, is scheduled to attend. Earnhardt races in NASCAR’s Nationwide series.

For tickets call 498-6431 or go to www.amhc.org.

In Houlton on Saturday evening, singers from Aroostook County and Carleton County, New Brunswick, will take to the stage at 7 p.m. at Houlton High School to vie for the chance to become the region’s Northern Star.

Formerly “Aroostook Idol,” the Northern Star vocal contest pits contestants from The County and western New Brunswick. The United Way of Aroostook debuted the singing competition, a spin-off of the Fox TV series “American Idol,” five years ago. The contest has become one of the organization’s most lucrative fundraisers.

Organizers changed the name to Northern Star and decided to allow contestants from Canada to compete this year in order to make the event more profitable and entertaining.

The Houlton show is the first of three regional shows to find the top vocalist who will be crowned the Northern Star.

In addition to the name change, Northern Star organizers have changed the voting process to include a combination of judges’ votes and audience participation to select the top three performers from each region. The audience will vote for favorites, and the top two audience picks will move forward to the finale. Judges will select a third wild-card pick.

Organizers of the competition said earlier this week that Saturday’s regional show in Houlton will feature contestants from ages 13 to 57. The show will include three Canadian participants, eight male singers and five female singers.

The second show, to be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, at Presque Isle Middle School, will be open to residents of central Aroostook and Victoria County, New Brunswick.

The final show will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, in the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s Fox Auditorium. It will be open to residents of the St. John Valley and Madawaska County, New Brunswick.

The three winners from each regional show will compete in a finale production on Feb. 28 to determine the top vocalist.

Residents 12 years of age or older and who live in Madawaska and Victoria and Carleton counties in New Brunswick will be eligible to compete in the shows.

All proceeds from funds raised will go directly to the United Way of Aroostook’s annual campaign.

Since the United Way of Aroostook launched the fundraiser, it has drawn more than 150 competitors to the stage. It also has raised more than $150,000 to benefit agencies it funds.

For more information, visit online at www.unitedwayaroostook.org

The International Snowmobile Festival in Madawaska allows sledders to pay a modest fee and secure a pass allowing access to the interconnecting trails on both sides of the border.

An annual reciprocity agreement among Maine, Quebec and New Brunswick allows participants to buy a three-day pass from the International Snowmobile Festival Committee. The pass allows riders access to 600 miles of trails on both sides of the border. This is the 14th year of the event.

In concert with the opportunity to sled, the festival will feature food, dancing and a meet and greet with stars of the Discovery Channel show “American Loggers.”

For more information, log on to www.isfim.net.

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