Hundreds of immigrant and refugee families new to Maine will experience the thrill of sledding and snowshoeing for the first time at WinterKids’ 9th annual Welcome to Winter Festival, a free event in Portland’s Payson Park on Saturday, January 19, 2013, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. This year, the festival will feature a very special performance from the nationally recognized Pihcintu Multinational Children’s Chorus!
Families that have recently arrived in Maine may be experiencing winter for the first time. Fear of the cold climate and unfamiliarity with winter recreation opportunities may keep new residents inside during Maine’s longest season. At the Welcome to Winter Festival, WinterKids and Portland Public Schools’ Multilingual & Multicultural Center will share fun activities to show new Mainers how to stay warm and how to enjoy the snow outdoors.
L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School will bring snowshoes for trekking and offer tips for dressing in cold weather. Warm winter hats, mittens and socks have been donated by Renys, CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) and the Portland Rotary Club. Washboard Eco Laundry donated their cleaning service for worn items. Paricon has donated sledding saucers so that families can slide down the hill in Payson Park.
Sarah Long, of Long’s Board Shop, will emcee the event and announce raffle prize winners. WinterKids volunteers, including 10 from Take Action Portland, will help children build snowmen, teach sledding safety, and tend the fire pit.
WinterKids thanks the following for supporting the 2013 Welcome to Winter Festival: Hannaford Supermarkets; Healthy Maine Partnerships; Healthy Portland; L.L.Bean; L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery School; Portland Parks & Recreation Department; Portland Public Services; Portland Public Schools’ Multicultural & Multilingual Center; City of Portland; Sarah Long; Lucas Tree Experts; Coffee By Design; Oakhurst Dairy; Paricon Flexible Flyer Sled; Portland Pie Company; Portland Red Claws; Take Action Portland; Acadia Insurance; Pihcintu Multinational Children’s Chorus; Portland Rotary Club & Joan Steinberg; Renys; and WinterKids’ volunteers.