The Bicentennial Snow Ball on Jan. 30 kicked off the inaugural Carnaval ME weekend with a just-for-adults event in a glowing, inflatable igloo on Portland’s Eastern Promenade. Snow Ball guests sipped champagne while riding the Maine Narrow Gauge Railway to the igloo for a deejay dance party with signature cocktails, local brews, light fare and confections.

“It was everything I hoped it would be and more – the music, the people, everything,” said Angie Helton of Portland, who was among the 350 attendees.

“It’s great for Portland, and it’s wonderful to have a new event in the winter to bring in both Mainers and tourists,” said Bill Becker of Falmouth.

Wearing a snowflake-print blazer, event organizer Brian Corcoran of Shamrock Signature presented beneficiary WinterKids with a check for $25,000, raised through ticket sales and an anonymous donation.

“We’re incredibly grateful,” WinterKids Executive Director Julie Mulkern said. “This money will allow us to enhance and expand our programs for kids in Maine schools through the WinterKids Winter Games and with families using the WinterKids app to try new winter sports.”

Carnaval ME lit up the Eastern Prom with a rail jam on Jan. 31 that was a national qualifying event for the USA Snowboard and Freeski Association – the association’s first off-mountain event. When those tricksters weren’t on the hill, Mainers had the chance to get on a snowboard or skis without even leaving the city, thanks to the crew from Sunday River.

Corcoran’s event promotion company, Shamrock Signature, is collaborating with the Maine Department of Tourism on two more bicentennial-year events, Portland Pops (July 4) and SailFest Portland (July 16-19), and plans for Carnaval ME to be back, bigger and better.

“We will expand in January 2021 to provide more programming and live entertainment for people of all ages,” Corcoran said.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at

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