Friday, February 13, 2009

Mardi Gras is Coming to Maine

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist
Next weekend, February 20-21, is Ogunquit’s Mardi Gras 2009, a festival in its second year in the small coastal town.
“We had such a great turnout last year,” said Karen Marie Arel, president of the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce. “People came from across town to all the way from New York, Massachusetts and northern Maine. I can close my eyes and see the faces of the people from last year. There were people up and down the sidewalks just having so much fun in the middle of winter.”
Why Mardi Gras in Ogunquit?
According to Arel, “Some people get cabin fever in the winter, and this is a chance for neighbors to get together and have fun.”
This year’s Mardi Gras has two days of entertainment, most of which is free or inexpensive.
“We’re always looking for things that people can do that costs little or no money,” Arel added.
It kicks off Friday night with the Mardi Gras King & Queen Crowning Competition at the Maine Street Bar at 9 p.m. On Saturday, the King and Queen will have the honor of leading a sidewalk parade at 2 p.m., which will begin at Maine Street, and all ages are invited to participate. People are encouraged to bring their own wagons and sidewalk-sized floats.
“It’s more of a hat parade,” Arel explained, “ and The Hat Sisters, who are very well known around here, are going to help people make their hats before the parade.” Participants can bring their own hats, or pay a small “materials fee” if you want to make your own hat at the Mardi Gras Hat Party at Maine Street from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Ice sculptures will be on display in the Fancy That courtyard from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. before the parade begins.
The parade will wind its way from Maine Street to the Old Village Inn, with a pit stop for pictures at The Front Porch.
“You’re going to be able to stop in with the photographer, Audrey Gottlieb, to get your picture taken, and then get back into the parade,” explained Arel.
Prizes and refreshments await the parade participants at its conclusion around 3 p.m.
Just added to Saturday’s lineup is a US Army Band Quintet, who will be performing Dixieland music following the parade around 3:30 p.m.
“I heard them last summer and their music is fabulous,” Arel commented.
The final official event will be a concert by The Funky Divas of Gospel at the Dunaway Center. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $15 at the door, or $12 in advance or for seniors.
Several Ogunquit stores and restaurants plan on running Mardi Gras specials and menus. And if history is any guide, people can expect to find the famous purple, green and gold Mardi Gras beads available throughout town businesses.
For more up-to-date information as this event approaches, visit or call (207) 646-2939.
Photo Captions: Top - Image taken from the Mardi Gras 2009 brochure published by the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce for the event. (Courtesy photo) Bottom - Neil McLoud carefully sculpts his ice creation. (Courtesy photo)

High School Seniors and Juniors: Ready for a Math Challenge? Register to Compete for $80,000 in Scholarship Prizes

Less than a month remains to register teams for the fourth-annual Moody’s Mega Math Challenge, an Internet-based applied math competition for high school students. Teams must register online by Monday, March 2 at 5 p.m. to be eligible to win scholarship prizes totaling $80,000. Prizes will be awarded to the top teams by The Moody’s Foundation in early May.
Teacher-coaches must register their teams online at and each high school may enter up to two teams of three to five 11th or 12th grade students per team. There are no participation or entry fees.
Students choose which day they wish to work during Challenge weekend, March 7 or 8, and have 14 hours to solve an open-ended, realistic, applied math-modeling problem focused on real-world issues. Teams are able to download the problem at 7 a.m. on their selected Challenge day and must upload their paper by 9 p.m. that same evening. They will have no knowledge of the problem until they download it from the M3 Challenge web site. It is recommended that all teams prepare in advance using any resources available. There are several sample problems available for practice on the Challenge website at
This year, more students than ever before are eligible to participate as the Challenge has expanded to include all high school juniors and seniors in New England and Mid-Atlantic states, from Maine through Washington, D.C. Find out if your school is eligible at
Teacher-coaches are responsible for selecting and registering their team(s), communicating the contest rules and guidelines to their team(s), receiving all contest communications including and especially the team ID # and password, and preparing their team for the Challenge (optional, but recommended). Teacher-coaches are not required to be physically with or near their team on Challenge day and are prohibited from helping their team during the Challenge itself.
Moody’s Mega Math Challenge spotlights applied mathematics as a powerful problem-solving tool, as a viable and exciting profession, and as a vital contributor to advances in an increasingly technical society. The Challenge is funded by The Moody’s Foundation and organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).
More information on Moody’s Mega Math Challenge 2009 can be found at