Mainers are invited to “Take it Outside” on Saturday at the final Winter Family Fun Day of the year, which will be held at Aroostook State Park — snow, rain or shine. Ice skating, dog sled rides and nature walks are among the many activities that will be provided 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the northern Maine park.
“We’re always excited to open up this event to the public,” said Aroostook State Park Manager Scott Thompson. “It’s important the people know that winter recreation is just around the corner — it can be at a state park or the local recreation area.”
This will be the park’s sixth year hosting a Family Fun Day, and due to the support of sponsors, admission to the event, including lunch, is just $1.50 for ages 12-64, and free for those older than 65 or younger than 12.
“Family Fun Days have become very popular wintertime events at our parks,” said Will Harris, director of Parks and Public Lands, in a recent press release. “The idea is to encourage Mainers to get outdoors for recreation, relaxation and health.”
The Aroostook event will wrap up this winter’s lineup of six Family Fun Days held at various Maine state parks and is a part of the “Take It Outside” campaign, which was announced by former Gov. John Baldacci in 2007 and is run by the Division of Parks and Public Lands.
The oldest Maine state park, Aroostook State Park was founded in 1938 on Echo Lake, located off Route 1 south of Presque Isle. An ideal setting for winter sports, the northern Maine park offers groomed cross-country ski and snowshoe trails.
Family Fun Day participants who don’t own skis or snowshoes will still have the opportunity to explore these trails by borrowing equipment for free from the Maine State Parks Ski and Snowshoe Trailer, which has 66 pairs of cross-country skis, boots, bindings and poles, and 44 pairs of snowshoes for all ages.
“If anyone has never been on skis or snowshoes, this is the prime time to do it,” Thompson said.
The state-owned trailer of winter sports equipment — funded by a grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, along with sponsorships by L.L. Bean, Wicked Joe Coffee and Healthy Hometowns, a program of the Maine Winter Sports Center — made its debut at last year’s Winter Family Fun Days, and has traveled throughout the state to provide Maine residents with winter sports rentals at discounted prices ever since.
Midway through the action-packed day, a hot lunch will be served by the Spragueville Ladies Extension. Hot dogs, chowder and soup are on the menu, to be washed down with hot chocolate and coffee.
Heywood Kennel Sled Dog Adventures of Augusta will be at the event to provide rides and talk to people about sled dog racing. Thompson said the park will request a $3 donation for dogsled rides to defray the cost of transporting the dogs and equipment to the park.
In addition, the L.L. Bean Bootmobile and an entourage of vintage snowmobiles will be on site for visitors to enjoy.
Local sponsors of the event include Cary Medical Center, Graves supermarket, Katahdin Trust Company, MMG Insurance, the Aroostook Medical Center, Haines Manufacturing and TD Bank.
For information, call 768-8341 or visit www.take-it-outside.com.