Bethel is a beautiful little town tucked away in the mountains in Oxford county. It is home to the Sunday River ski area and not very far from Grafton Notch State Park. It is a great place to visit at any time of the year, but today I want to share with you one of the winter activities that the town is known for—ice sculptures and snowmen(women).
You see, people in Bethel just love to play in the snow! In 1999, the tallest snowman was created. He was called “Angus” for our governor at the time, Angus King. He was a formidable 113’7″ tall. The record was topped in 2008 with a record-setting snowwoman. They named her Olympia after our senator, Olympia Snowe. She was 122’1″ and weighed in at 13,000,000 pounds. A contest was held after each of these to see who could guess when they would melt. Angus melted in June and Olympia in July.
Bethel is home to a WinterFest each year where fun activities are held daily (sorry, this year’s activities are over). One of the main events that happens during this time is the building of fabulous ice sculptures.
The spectacular ice and snow sculptures were located in a refrigerated tent this year to keep them cold. This year they probably didn’t need to do that but you never know about the weather in Maine and a refrigerated tent ensures that the sculptures last for a while.
Team Yukon, the team that won the International Snow Sculpting Event at the Quebec Winter Carnival last year, carved two of the largest sculptures for WinterFest. One of them was of three bears having fun waterskiing and the other has a moose riding an ATV getting ready to jump over another ATV! This team travels all over around the world carving snow and ice.
The moose and ATV’s sculpture was a fun photo opportunity — you could even sit on this and take photo’s. I was not able to get to Bethel to view the sculptures this year but here is a photo of the beginning of the moose. Quite impressive, isn’t it?
The Maine Snow & Ice Sculpting Foundation Championship will be held on February 19-21 at the L.L.Bean store in Freeport. The artists will start working on their pieces on Thursday the 19th and will be able to work at their own pace until Saturday the 21st at 11am. An awards ceremony will be held at 12 noon. The sculptures will then be on display until they melt. If you have never seen one of these ice carvings, be sure to take a trip to LL Bean if you are in the area.