A Festival of Smelt, Ice, and Fun in Bowdoinham

Anyone who has lived through a Maine winter knows that you need to find your fun outdoors or you’ll go stir crazy waiting for spring and, eventually, summer. Luckily there are a bunch of great festivals that actually celebrate freezing your butt off outside, and surely one of the quirkiest is coming up this weekend in Bowdoinham, on Merrymeeting Bay.

The Ice and Smelt Festival will be held Friday, February 3, and Saturday, February 4, at Mailly Waterfront Park in Bowdoinham. In addition to readings, games, and other events celebrating smelt, the festivities include a “Carnivale of Smelt” and the not-to-be-missed Best Beard Contest, which returns to the festival after a fifty-year (yes, fifty!) absence. What qualifies as a great beard? Visit the festival’s website, where you’ll find an in-depth diagram of facial art, with annotations about each, including a description of which “facial hair aids” are allowed. Hey, we said it was a wacky event!

Saturday‚Äôs events, which begin at 10 a.m. and last until 10 p.m., include activities, games, contests, a costumed parade, and a dance at the Town Hall. If you’re feeling a bit of cabin fever closing in on you, this is just the kind of lighthearted get-together to head to this weekend.