Lack of snow will not be a problem for this year’s Naples Winter Carnival, kicking off Friday.

“Naples literally goes to sleep during the winter months, but during the weekend of the carnival the town comes alive with thousands of people,” said Dan Allen, an organizer of the carnival and member of the Muddy River Sno-seekers Snowmobile Club of Naples. “It feels really good to see everyone enjoying themselves.”

The carnival begins with Friday night’s torchlight parade, as snowmobilers hold up lights while following a route on Long Lake.

The weekend also will include a poker rally, radar runs, helicopter rides, a bouncy house for children, games and vendors. There will be fireworks on Saturday night and a party at Sydney’s Restaurant on Route 302.

Hannaford sponsors a fishing derby on Saturday, with adult and child divisions. Proceeds will go to the United Way, and Hannaford also donates food to local groups that help the needy.

The fire department, recreation department, Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, nonprofit groups and local businesses all work together to make the carnival a success.

“People should come to the Naples Winter Carnival because it’s a great way to get outside during the winter months and have tons of fun,” said Bernadette Flood, president of the snowmobile club. “The carnival helps the community — we try to have a large presence of nonprofit organizations at the carnival and the activities that they offer bring money into the community.

“It certainly helps the sport of snowmobiling, in addition to getting people out and enjoying their snowmobiles, it allows the Muddy River Sno-seekers to earn money to help pay to maintain the trails in the lakes region, which benefits everyone. It also gives people who don’t snowmobile an opportunity to see how much fun it can be,” Flood said.

“But our main goal,” said Flood, “is to bring goodness to our community.”

There will be plenty of opportunity for great riding on the lake as well as on trails in the area. The Naples snowmobile club grooms over 50 miles of trails with views of the White Mountains and Long Lake, as well as other bodies of water. One of the most scenic is the Crooked River Loop Trail, which crosses the river on a Bailey bridge. This type of military bridge was often used in World War II, because it could be built in sections by a group of about a dozen men.

The club has four groomers and a dedicated group of volunteers who work on clearing and repairing trails in early fall as well as grooming them in the winter.

The trail system is well signed. To the west, the trails lead to Bridgton and New Hampshire, and to the east, the trails connect with trails in Casco.

Southern Maine certainly has been blessed with above-average snowfall this year, which should help ensure that the Naples Winter Carnival is a big success.

For more information on the carnival, go online to www.townofnaples.org

Cathy Genthner is a registered Maine Guide licensed to guide snowmobile trips. She owns River Bluff Camps in Medford, located off ITS-83. She can be reached at:

[email protected]