By Donna Perry, Staff Writer
JAY — It sounded like the Winter Olympics on Saturday as sledders came down a man-made mountain of snow during the Spruce Mountain Sled-in and Winter Family Festival at French Falls Recreation Area.
There were ‘aws’ from onlookers when sledders crashed and ‘oohs’ when others finished the course.
Under sunny skies, people came from all around the area to take part in the festival put on by the Jay Recreation Committee.
Maureen Poisson of Jay watched her 10-year-old grandson, Daxtyn Poisson, of Livermore slide to the bottom and up an incline fashioned to stop sledders.
“He’s been coming ever since it started,” she said. “He has been sliding since he was a baby.”
He has also snowshoed and participated in other outdoor sports.
“Everything Mimi does, he does,” said Poisson.
They have snowshoed the trails at French Falls, which were revitalized a couple of years ago by community members and the Recreation Committee.
It has added a little extra to their lives, Poisson said.
Laurie Welch of Chesterville and her 6-year-old granddaughter, Aubree Webber, who put her mittens over her eyes as the sled was getting close to the bottom of the hill, glided safely to a stop.
“The hill is pretty big,” Welch said. “It’s very scary but awesome for sliding.”
Adam Meng, 13, of New Sharon zoomed down on his sled. He described the ride as fun.
Jay Police Chief Richard Caton clocked sledders with a radar gun. Among the times were 18, 20, 21 and 23 mph.
Children and adults were pulled on sleds around a field by snowmobiles going around a field. Members of the Andy Valley Riders Snowmobile Club of Jay, Livermore Trailer Blazers Snowmobile Club of Livermore and the Jug Hill Riders Snowmobile Club of Livermore Falls gave ride after ride.
Some people snapped on their snowshoes and took to the trails. Others had a bite to eat from offerings by nonprofit and charity groups.
Others toasted marshmallows over a fire pit, while Jay firefighters Carl Beaudette and Tyler Grover manned a bonfire in an old oil tank.