Carnaval Maine Prepares to Transform Portland's Eastern Promenade

The three-day winter party, heavily inspired by Quebec City’s "Carnaval de Quebec," kicks off Jan. 30

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It's a Canadian tradition with a Maine twist.

Carnaval Maine kicks off Thursday night in Portland.

The three-day winter party, heavily inspired by Quebec City's "Carnaval de Quebec," is bringing a giant inflatable igloo, USAA official ski rail jam event, ice sculptures, light displays and a party atmosphere to the city's Eastern Promenade.

"We are beyond excited," said event organizer, Brian Corcoran, who admitted staging the first of its kind Maine event is a lot of work.

"'We can't sleep fast enough,' is what we're saying at the office," Corcoran said.

Luckily for Corcoran, he has some experienced helpers.

Carnaval Maine has an official partnership with the decades-old Carnaval de Quebec that is also first of its kind.

A team from Quebec City that helps organize the festivities up north lent their knowledge and mascot, a snowman named Bonhomme to show support for its neighbor.

"We're not experts of anything, we just built our success year-after-year," said CEO of Carnaval De Quebec Melanie Raymond. "To bring people outdoors in winter is quite a challenge. We're proud to be part of that in Portland and in Maine."

In a Thursday morning presentation, Bonhomme, who has his own professional security detail, kicked of Carnaval Maine by presenting medals and other gifts to Corcoran and others who helped make the party possible.

Asked what the message of Carnaval is, the snowman replied, "The feeling [the visitors] will have inside at this gathering."

Young people, "will remember this..for kids, it's in the heart."

Carnaval Maine and its events for kids and adults begins with a sold-out ball on Thursday night and continues with various events like a Bites and Brews tent until Saturday night.

More information can be found on the Carnaval Maine website.

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