BIDDEFORD – Despite this week’s record-breaking warmth, the city will celebrate all things snow this weekend with its second annual WinterFest.

The festival will start Friday night with the Biddeford Big Air and Rail Jam, a contest that brings professional snowboarders and skiers to town to compete on a 30-foot tower and snow-covered ramp.

The weekend will continue with other free events, including sledding on a man-made course on Adams Street.

“It’s a chance in the dead of winter to get out and do something,” said John Maxson, chairman of the committee of volunteers organizing the festival.

The Big Air and Rail Jam was held in recent years at the New Life Church in Biddeford.

This year, the church and the city have teamed up to move the event downtown, Maxson said.

The contest will feature Ryan Paul, a professional snowboarder and X Games silver medalist. The competition will begin at 6 p.m., with an awards ceremony scheduled for 9.

Preparations for the festival began Thursday as volunteers built the 30-foot tower for the Big Air and Rail Jam.

While rain and high temperatures melted much of southern Maine’s snowpack this week, the snow piled up fast on Adams Street on Thursday.

Volunteers trucked in snow that had been piled in large parking lots and at the Biddeford Municipal Airport.

The dirtier parking lot snow was used to form the base of the sledding course, while the cleaner, whiter snow from the airport was added to the top.

Workers planned to spray machine-made snow on the 30-foot-tall ramp Thursday night.

Adams Street will be closed to traffic throughout the weekend.

The sledding hill is sponsored by the Downtown Development Commission, which will have sleds available for visitors to use.

People are encouraged to bring their own sleds and snowboards when the hill is open, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Other events scheduled for Saturday include snowshoeing, snow volleyball, sleigh rides, pony rides, and craft activities at McArthur Public Library.

Local organizations will sell food in City Square on Friday night and all day Saturday.

A community bean supper will be held at St. Joseph’s Church from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Tricky Britches, a bluegrass band, will play a free show at 7 p.m. Saturday at City Theater. On Sunday, the University of New England will offer a free performance of the opera “Carmen” at City Theater.

WestBrook Skating Rink will be open for free skating from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

A complete schedule of events is on the city website and on the WinterFest 2013 Facebook page.


Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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Twitter: grahamgillian