WFLT’s annual Snowshoe Festival coming!

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RACE — Jesse Wall of TruStrength Athletics and Scott Vlaun of Center for an Ecology Based Economy (CEBE) race in last year's Snowshoe Festival at Robert's Farm Preserve.

NORWAY — The Norway Snowshoe Festival, a uniquely Maine event, returns for its eighth year. Organized by the Western Foothills Land Trust (WFLT), the weekend event celebrates Norway’s rich cultural heritage of arts, crafts, and outdoor activities.

The theme this year is polar explorers with events honoring Norway’s own W.F. Tubbs, and pioneers Admiral Richard Byrd and Robert Peary.

The Snowshoe Festival will kick off Friday, Feb. 16, with a family contra dance at the Norway Grange from 6 to 8 p.m. Fiddler Pam Weeks will supply the music while caller Bill Olson will lead the dancers. A suggested donation of $5 to $10 is appreciated.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, WFLT will hold the W.F. Tubbs snowshoe races at Roberts Farm Preserve, 64 Roberts Road, Norway.

The races – a 2k, 5k, and 10k –will start at 10 a.m. Snowshoes are available to borrow upon request.

The annual Family Snowshoe Games will follow the snowshoe race and will include a three-legged race, pulk pull, egg & spoon race and more.

Spectators and participants will be treated to a fire pit lunch provided by Norway Brewing Company, Cafe Nomad and Pietree Orchard.

At the same time, Fiber & Vine will be hosting a snowshoe fashion parade. The Hortense Gates Snowshoe Fashion Parade will bring us back to the time when people traversed the snowy landscape in woolen clothing and wooden snowshoes.

The highlight of the afternoon is the World Championship Snowshoe Wife Carry. Participants will strap on snowshoes and run a 125-yard winter obstacle course! The overall winning couple will receive belt buckles courtesy of TruStrength Athletics and both a $50 gift certificate and a growler of their favorite beer from Norway Brewing Company.

The Wife Carry will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at Roberts Farm Preserve. Entry fee of $25 adult and $10 high school pairs is required. Participants can pre-register at https://runsignup.com/Race/ME/Norway/WorldChampionshipSnowshoeWifeCarry.

Registrations ($30/$15) will be accepted on the day of the competition.

The festival will end with the Byrd & Peary Snowshoe Tug of War. Teams of four will compete for a prize of darn tough socks, a fitting reward for the team with the most muscle.

WFLT’s annual Snowshoe festival will take place with support from Norway Downtown, Healthy Oxford Hills, Western Foothills Land Trust, Cafe Nomad, Carters X-Country Ski, TruStrength Athletics, Fiber & Vine, Norway Brewing Company and Great Maine Outdoor Weekend.

This year’s festival is also part of the Great Maine Outdoor Week (GMOW), which promotes outdoor activities across Maine.

As part of Great Maine Outdoor Week, WFLT also is hosting a snowshoe walk at Shepards Farm, 121 Crockett Ridge Rd in Norway at 11 a.m. on February 9 and a fat tire bike race with five demo fat tire bikes for kids to use for free.

The fat bike race will be held on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. at Roberts Farm Preserve, 64 Roberts Road, Norway.

For more information on GMOW and to find other WFLT events, please visit the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend website at greatmaineoutdoorweekend.org or email WFLT at staf@wfltmaine.org. The Western Foothills Land Trust PO Box 107 Norway, Maine 04268 207.739.2124 www.wfltmaine.org