A sunny, 43˚ day in the middle of February is reason to celebrate, especially given all the snow of the past two weeks. And so Bridgton, Maine, did just that with its annual winter carnival sponsored by the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce.
Highland Lake in downtown Bridgton was the setting for the activities, including dog sled rides and an ice fishing derby.
As folks got settled on the sled, the lead dogs eagerly awaited their chance to follow the course.
And then they were off for a short journey around the lake.
Though we didn’t go for a ride today, my guy and I have taken several and it’s a delightful way to explore. Bridgton is also home to the Mushers Bowl, a sanctioned race which occurred two weeks ago at Five Fields Farm.
Today the dogs weren’t competing, but rather providing scenic rides and they did so with smiles on their faces. They were born to run.
If you haven’t been snuggled in a sled behind a team, I strongly encourage you to try it.
Further out on the lake, the fishing derby was in progress. We didn’t walk out because we were eager to get to another event closer to the beach. Plus, we’d left our snowshoes at home and post holing was the name of the game without them.
Instead, we turned our attention to an open spot created by the town crew.
Many gathered to watch the annual polar dip called Freezin for a Reason, a benefit for Harvest Hills Animal Shelter in neighboring Fryeburg. Harvest Hills is a shelter that accepts stray, neglected and abandoned dogs and cats.
Those taking the plunge donned a variety of costumes.
And their faces told the story.
They offered support with smiles.
Some disappeared under water for a few seconds.
While there were those who dove in, others were more cautious.
All kinds of critters came out to cheer them on.
Laughter, hoots and hollers filled the air, while rollers curled the hair.
Kids of all ages got into the act.
And some accepted the challenge to get to the other side of the “pool” where local firefighters were ready–just in case–and happy to offer high fives. Thankfully, their rescue services weren’t needed.
It was fun to watch co-workers and their individual approaches.
Each reacted differently to the common goal.
And the best was saved for last, when Jen was introduced.
She waved to the crowd as she walked the white carpet to the water’s edge.
Joan gave her hand so she wouldn’t slip.
And the fire crew moved in to provide additional support.
Jen loves to swim.
And so she did, kicking up water in the face of her aids.
To the cheers of all watching, she finally got out.
Like all who took the plunge, she was greeted with a warm towel.
In honor of dogs and cats, all of these folks raised money to the tune of over $20,000. They deserved all the cheers they received as they celebrated this beautiful and balmy dog day of winter.