SOUTH PORTLAND — One thing is for sure, there will be skating at this weekend’s WinterFest in South Portland.
That’s because the centerpiece of the annual winter event is a new, donated ice rink at the Wainwright Recreation Complex off Highland Avenue. In the past, ice skating at WinterFest has depended on ice conditions being perfect for skating at the pond at Mill Creek Park. In fact, there was no WinterFest in 2012 because of unseasonable weather.
But this year a 20,000-square-foot rink was constructed on the grass at Wainwright’s fields, maintained by city workers. So it’ll be skate-ready in just about any weather, barring a summer-like thaw.
The new rink was made possible by a $15,000 donation from the Soucy family, owners of Port Harbor Marine at Spring Point in South Portland. The money was donated to the South Portland-Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club, which is partnering with the city to put on WinterFest. The rink will be used all winter long, and in the future as well.
The new rink will be dedicated at 9:30 a.m. Saturday as part of the WinterFest activities.
But even without the new rink, there would probably be skating at WinterFest, since it’s been a frigid winter. And it’s a good thing too, since the Mill Creek Pond is part of the WinterFest activities, as the site of a skating party Friday night.
Here then is a breakdown of this year’s WinterFest:
FRIDAY: From 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., there will be in-store specials at businesses in Knightville, the shopping district near the intersection of Cottage Road and Ocean Street, near the Casco Bay Bridge. At 6 p.m., there will be a luminary walk, departing from the CIA Cafe on Ocean Street and heading a couple blocks over to Mill Creek Park. Then from 6 to 8 p.m., there will be a skating party at Mill Creek Park, complete with s’mores while they last. Local radio station Coast 93.1 will be broadcasting live from the park, and there’ll be a chicken wing eating contest as well.
SATURDAY: A day of activities at Wainwright Recreation Complex, off Highland Avenue not far from the Scarborough line. After the ice rink dedication at 9:30 a.m., there will be wagon rides from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., hockey clinics from 10 to 11:30 a.m., a snow sculpture contest from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and turkey curling at 11:30 a.m. In the afternoon, there will be snowshoe hiking and cross-country skiing from 1 to 3:30 p.m., and a pond hockey tournament from noon to 4 p.m.
Plus, if you get too cold doing all these outdoor things, there will be fire pits and a warming hut to provide some comfort.
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: