GRAY – In just about a week, on Jan. 26, Crystal Lake in Gray will be a buzz with activity. The fourth annual Crystal Lake Derby will transform the lake into a winter carnival-like environment. Assuming that Mother Nature cooperates and the ice is safe, here are some of the latest updates.

Total prizes are in excess of $10,000, and participants will have a chance to win a Ford F-150 Raptor from Casco Bay Ford. Kid’s Derby participants will get free bait from Dag’s, there will be kids activities sponsored by the Gray Recreation Department and Home Depot, and the Portland Red Claws mascot, Crusher, will be on hand.

Throughout the day, there will be representatives from all branches of the U.S. military mingling with folks at the event. As in the past, there will be helicopter rides, and new to this year’s event is a Texas Roadhouse line dancing demonstration with the help of mascot, Andy the Armadillo.

And if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate? According to derby coordinator Glen Mercier, “Safety is our No. 1 concern for all participants and on Tuesday, Jan. 22, the Crystal Lake Ice Fishing Derby staff in conjunction with the Maine Game Wardens will evaluate the ice conditions. If it is determined there are concerns for public safety due to ice conditions, the event will be rescheduled for Feb. 23.”

Mercier suggested that those planning to attend keep an eye on the Derby website,, for up-to-the-minute information regarding the event – especially after the evaluation on Tuesday.

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