By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN It’s beginning to look a lot like . . . the Winsted Winter Festival!
New attractions are planned for the 30th annual celebration, which will take place Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8.
For anyone (age 8 and older) who’d like to improve their art skills, instructor Amanda Doster will be offering three 45-minute step-by-step painting classes at the Blue Note Ballroom Dec. 8. Participants will paint on 6-by-6-inch canvases, and classes will start on the hour, at 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m. For ages 5 and older, there will be a continuously rotating table of independent painting. Purchase of a Winsted Winter Festival button is all that’s required to join.
Buttons are $2 each and can be purchased at Keaveny Drug, the Pantry Cafe, and from the Winsted royalty. They depict a creative snowman “30” scene by local resident Matt Field, winner of this year’s design contest. Everyone who purchases a button is entered into a drawing to win $100, $75, or $50 in Winsted Bucks. For each button sold, 50 cents is donated to the McLeod Emergency Food Shelf.
In addition to painting classes, other fun things are planned at the Blue Note Dec. 8, including a visit from Santa Claus from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be no professional photography this year, but visitors are welcome to capture their own photos. Families can also enjoy face painting, hay wagon rides, and a coloring contest. Children will have an opportunity to register to win a model train set or a bicycle. In the Blue Note parking lot, there will be a vintage snowmobile show and swap meet.
When it’s time for a break, attendees are welcome to sit down at the Blue Note Ballroom for lunch, served by the Winsted royalty from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. New on the menu for 2018 is tater tot hotdish, along with the traditional hotdogs and chips. For dessert, the Holy Trinity Council of Catholic Women has organized a bake sale with desserts, coffee, games, and crafts.
Later in the day, from 3 to 6 p.m. the Winsted American Legion will serve chili in the Vollmer Room of Winsted City Hall. After a warm bowl of chili, Winsted residents and visitors will be ready to enjoy the lighted Christmas parade, which starts at 6:30 p.m. New this year, parking will not be allowed on the parade route (through downtown). The purpose of the restriction is to make the parade safer.
Also downtown Dec. 8 will be an artisan boutique called “The Butcher, The Baker, and The Candlestick Maker.” Local artists will be displaying and selling their work from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Winsted Arts Council building.
Some of the festival attractions will take place Dec. 7 and Dec. 8, including open houses at local businesses, and the 20th annual Winsted Public Library silent auction. A kickoff to the festival is a Christmas concert at St. John’s Lutheran Church Friday, Dec. 7 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. featuring Allen and Matt Carlson. A social hour will start at 6 p.m. Cost is a freewill donation.
A few activities start before the official festival, including a giving tree at Flagship Insurance Services, 131 6th St. N. The tree will be decorated with special ornaments that include a child’s name and their Christmas wishes. The public is encouraged to stop by and see if there is a child they’d be able to help this season.
There will also be a medallion hunt, with the first clue posted Monday, Dec. 3 on Herald-Journal.com and the Winsted Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. All rules can be found at WinstedChamber.com.
Another returning contest is for the best outdoor light display. To participate, residents should have their holiday lights turned on by 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5. For the first time, there are three categories, with the themes “Reason for the Season,” “Classic Christmas,” and “Griswald’s.” The top pick of each category will win $100 in Winsted Bucks.
See posters around town for a full schedule of this year’s Winsted Winter Festival events. Photos of the festival will appear in the Friday, Dec. 14 edition of the Herald Journal.