Celebrate the wonders of a New England winter at this year's Lowell WinterFest, with events at a variety of locations around the city. The festivities start early on Friday from 10 a.m. - noon, when elementary and middle school students have a friendly competition to build the best snowman. The celebration picks up again, starting at 4 p.m., with a full evening of events, including a kids' party with face painting, music and live entertainment, as well as soup and microbrew competitions. The highlight of the evening is the first round of the "National Human Dogsled Championship," an annual favorite. Saturday activities begin at 8 a.m. with wildlife tracking at Hawk Valley Farm, and continue through the day, featuring events such as an all-you-can-eat chocolate festival, trivia contests, free ice skating, crafts, ice sculptures, horse-drawn carriage rides, the Human Dogsled Finals, and much more, culminating in the festival's light and laser show finale. A free shuttle will transport visitors between sites; check the website for complete listing of events, including locations and times. The Dogsled competition will commence weather permitting. Fri., Feb. 8, 10 a.m. - noon and 4-8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 9, 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Most event are free. All ages. Lowell WinterFest, downtown Lowell. www.lowell.org
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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a kindergartner and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.