HOULTON — There’s a lot of snow on the ground, and winter is only half over. Expecting a banner year for cabin fever, local people are gearing up for the annual Moose Stompers weekend, scheduled for Friday, Feb. 6, through Sunday, Feb. 8.
The event first was held last year to provide a break for families during the long winter, and also as a way to help promote the community. The idea was a local version of the Moose Stompers Ball that had been held annually at Loring Air Force Base before its shutdown in 1993.
The event was so popular, according to Town Manager Allan Bean, who served as the base commander, that it even attracted pilots from other areas of the country.
This year’s event in Houlton is being sponsored by the town, the Chamber of Commerce and the local fair association. Activities will get under way Friday, Feb. 6, with a spaghetti dinner from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Linneus Sno Sports clubhouse on Route 2A.
Ice skating is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. at the John Millar Arena at Community Park in Houlton. A snowmobile light parade through downtown will begin at 7:30 p.m. A midget-class hockey game will be held at 8:15 p.m. at the arena.
On Saturday, Feb. 7, activities will begin with a breakfast from 6 to 10 a.m. at the Meduxnekeag Ramblers clubhouse on Wiley Road in Littleton.
A snowmobile trail ride will be from 10 a.m. to noon at the Rambler’s clubhouse and proceed to Linneus before ending at Community Park in Houlton.
Also at 10 a.m., there will be a hockey shootout at the Millar Arena.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., numerous activities will be held at the park, including sliding on the giant sliding hill, sleigh rides, a snow cross for snowmobiles, a half-dollar scramble, human dog-sled races, a potato-carry relay, snowshoe races, a potato-peeling contest, a Jack and Jill log sawing competition and human curling.
Public skating will be available from 1 to 4 p.m. and a family fun night will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., both at the arena. There will be a giant bonfire at 5 p.m. at the park.
The Moose Stompers Ball will be held from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Lounge Downunder at the Shiretown Atrium Restaurant.
Also on Saturday, there will be concession stands open at the park and displays by local businesses.
On Sunday, Feb. 8, there will be mite-class hockey from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Millar Arena, featuring teams from Houlton, and Woodstock and Hartland, New Brunswick.
A trail ride will be held at 8:15 a.m. starting from the Shiretown Motel and proceeding to the Smoki Haulers clubhouse in Oakfield, where a breakfast will be held.
From noon to 4 p.m. at Community Park, there will be snowmobile rides for children, sleigh rides, a cross-country ski poker run, a Whiffle snowball tournament and sliding for children.
At 1 p.m., there will be a minitractor pull for children. The John Millar Arena will be open for pubic skating from 1 to 4 p.m. and for family skating from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.