With so many winter events in MidCoast Maine, it’s time to start planning! During your stay, there will also be plenty of time to participate in some fun winter sports along with some snuggle time by a cozy fire. The stereotypical portrayal of a native Mainer is often grizzled and gruff, but let us assure you, we know how to have fun! From Polar Plunges to Ice Carving, join us in celebrating the magic of the winter season.
Dates: mid-November – December 31st
Location: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, 105 Botanical Gardens Drive, Boothbay ME
We understand that Gardens Aglow bridges the holiday season, but the light show is so magical that it is worth including it in your visit if you can. Bundle up, and plan for a one mile walk through 14 acres of gardens that have been festooned with over 750,000 LED lights. After visiting the gardens with their winter glow, you will want to return and see how it looks in bloom next spring! Enjoy kettle corn and blueberry crisp along the route. You can shop for gifts from their Gardenshop featuring local artisans, local makers, and environmentally-conscious merchants, and every purchase-even online-is powerful: every sale directly supports their mission to inspire meaningful connections among people, plants, and nature through education, horticulture, and research.
While in the area, check out the entries in the Lighting Contest. There are almost two dozen entries of both business and residential entries. Drive by and vote for your favorites.
US National Toboggan Championship
Dates: Typically held each February
Location: Camden Snow Bowl, 20 Barnestown Road, Camden ME
The title of this event may lead you to believe that the US National Toboggan Championship is a precursor to an Olympic event. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The first competition was held in 1991, and this is the only organized traditional wooden toboggan race in the country. Experienced and amateur toboggan riders participate in the race.
Volunteers built the toboggan chute, and these races are the main fundraiser for the community-owned Camden Snow Bowl. There are more than 400 teams who compete; some regulars compete every year, and some travel from as far away as San Diego, CA. There are more than 5,000 people who attend, and the atmosphere is more festival than a competition with snow tailgates, mulled wine, and a totally fun atmosphere.
Belfast Ice Festival
Dates: In February each year
Various Locations: Downtown Belfast ME
Come to Belfast and see who wins the State of Maine Ice Carving Champion title! The Belfast Ice Festival is a fun weekend with ice bars all over town, serving special drinks, carving demonstrations, crafty activities, and horse and carriage rides.
Annual One Lunger 100 Vintage Snowmobile Races
Date: Annually in February
Location: 62 ME-117, Turner ME
Although this is technically not a festival, the atmosphere is worthy of being called a festival! The Turner Snowmobile Club’s vintage snowmobile race is classic Maine. Watch some really old snowmobiles race in an open field ½ mile track. Bring a chair and a blanket. There will be fires will be scattered around to help keep you warm, and food trucks for something to eat.
Belfast Farmers Market
Dates: Fridays, 9 am – 1 pm, year-round
Location: 231 Northport Ave, Belfast ME
The Belfast Farmers Market is not truly just a winter event because it is open year-round. In the winter season, it moves indoors to the Aubuchon Greenhouse. We mention it because it was featured prominently by Magnolia Network’s series, “The Lost Kitchen.” The series creator and owner of the acclaimed local restaurant of the same name visits the Farmers Market for the ingredients for a special dinner. Visit and see what all the fuss is about!
As you can see, there is certainly a wide range of winter events in MidCoast Maine. Between skiing, sledding, and relaxing by the fire, your winter getaway at the Captain Nickels Inn is sure to be full of all the fun of an unexpected snow day. Enjoy one of our ten luxurious rooms, six with fireplaces. Our grand oceanfront estate with impressive wintery Atlantic views provides a great place to unwind.
Published December 2022; Updated March 2023