Winterfest, sponsored by the Gray Snowolves Snowmobile Club, will be a community-wide event this year. The snowmobile club has teamed up with Libby Hill Forest Trails, the Gray-New Gloucester Fire Department and other community groups.

The event will be at its traditional location — Crystal Lake — as well as Gray-New Gloucester High School, located a mile from the lake. Winterfest begins at 6 p.m. on Friday night outside of the high school, where walkers, hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers can take part in a chocolate lovers’ walk, sponsored by Libby Hill Forest Trails with proceeds going to the trails.

Participants traverse from station to station through the woods, sampling different kinds of chocolate until they finish the course and celebrate with a bonfire and even more chocolate — that favorite campfire treat of s’mores (chocolate and toasted marshmallow, placed between graham crackers).

”This year we are including other community organizations. We started the event to raise money to give something back to the community. That is why some of the money raised by the snowmobile club will go toward the annual scholarship for a local student going into an environmental field,” said Brad Shelley, the president of the Gray Snowolves Snowmobile Club. ”Hopefully, there will be enough snow. We’ve had years without any snow, but even if that happens, Winterfest will go on.”

The events on Crystal Lake all take place on Saturday with the fishing tournament getting under way at legal sunrise. There will also be radar runs, a poker run, food booths, Nordic ski and snowshoe races, a pancake breakfast, snow sculptures, a silent auction, sliding races for the kids and a cold-water rescue drill performed by Gray-New Gloucester Fire Department and Rescue.

Last year more than 250 people attended Winterfest.

”We’ve incorporated more groups to make it a community event and we are hoping more people will be involved to make it a successful event,” said Shelley. ”It is a great time and we hope that everyone comes out to enjoy it. We need to do a snow dance to make sure it snows.”

CAIN’S QUEST CANCELED FOR 2010

Cain’s Quest Snowmobile Race has been postponed until March 2011. The race is one of the most physically grueling, with the course traversing extremely rugged terrain for several days, including portions of the frozen Atlantic coast. Temperatures have been unusually warm all across Labrador and as a result current ice conditions are not safe, according to organizers of the race. Cain’s Quest was slated for March 13.

In 2009, three teams from Maine placed in the top 10 spots. First place was won by ”Grip ‘N Rip Racing” consisting of members Tim Lessard of Monmouth and Eric Hall of Jackman. Second place went to ”Team Maine,” whose members were Rich Knipping of Monmouth and Rob Gardner of Norridgewock. A third team from Maine, with drivers Fred Whited from Blaine and Darrell McCrum from Mars Hill, placed ninth.

The race began in 2006 and has grown each year. The origin of the race’s name goes back to the European exploration of the New World. When French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the shore of Labrador in 1534, he commented on the brutality of the landscape. He said the land was ”stones and rocks, frightful and rough … for in all the coasts of the north I did not see a cartload of earth. I really believe that is the land that God gave to Cain.”

This story gave birth to the name ”Cain’s Quest” illustrating the raw and rocky landscape on which the race takes place. The land is as harsh and challenging as the weather, stretching the limits of rider and machine. But it seems the winter of 2010 softened a bit and has just not been cold enough for the race. But plans are already under way for the Cain’s Quest in 2011.