February 26, 2010

Absence of snow puts a chill on city's WinteRush festival

RAY ROUTHIER

— By

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The city's second WinteRush festival, scheduled for Saturday in Deering Oaks, has effectively been canceled for lack of snow.

City officials decided Wednesday morning to cancel all but two of the festival's planned events, said Nicole Clegg, spokeswoman for the city. The Polar Bear 5K road race and the Freezin' For a Reason Maine Polar Plunge will be held as scheduled. Neither event depends on snow.

The road race will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the East End Community School on North Street. The plunge, a benefit for Camp Sunshine in Casco, will take place at noon at East End Beach.

City officials decided to cancel the other events after seeing weather reports indicating the area would not get more than a dusting of snow over the next few days, Clegg said. Organizers had said there probably would have to be snowfall of 6 inches or more this week for most of the events -- including sledding, snowshoeing and snowball fights -- to be held.

''We are certainly disappointed to have to cancel the city's winter festival, but the lack of snow was a hurdle we couldn't overcome,'' said Mayor Nicholas Mavodones Jr. in a press release. The city held its first WinteRush festival in February 2009.

Clegg said city officials may try to hold the other WinteRush events later this winter if the area gets more snow, but no date has been set.

She said the lack of snow this year will not affect planning for future years.

For more information on WinteRush, go to www.winterush.com.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

rrouthier@pressherald.com

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