The Saratoga Sun -

Dig out your mittens, Winter Carnival is here again


The Sierra Madre Winter Carnival is gearing up for its 26th year of providing family-friendly winter activities throughout the town of Encampment.

The carnival has been an Encampment tradition since 1988, and this year it will include a treasure hunt, sled races, a chili feed and cook-off, a bread cook-off, a snow sculpture contest and a snowmobile race. The three-day event also includes bizarre winter competitions not found just anywhere, such as “human saucer bowling”, “chicken curling” and “snow golf”.

The carnival begins Friday evening with the treasure hunt at 6 p.m., at the Tower Meeting Room and the Grand Encampment Opera House at 622 Rankin Ave., where participants can solve clues, meet challenges and try to be the first ones to claim the treasure. Participants should wear warm clothing and bring a flashlight for the hunt. A meal will be served after the hunt.

Kids’ sled races begin with registration at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at Eighth and Rankin Ave. Prizes for each age group are awarded in “Fastest,” “Best of Show” and “Build Your Own” categories. There is a $10 entry fee for Build Your Own race. The races begin at 10 a.m.

The V.F.W. Chili Feed takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Eighth and Rankin Ave. At 1 p.m., folks can take part in human saucer bowling, which will involve people on saucer sleds mimicking bowling balls. Registration for this creative spin on bowling also begins at 9:30 a.m. during the sled registration.

“We’ve got the cones and the pop bottles for the bowling pins,” said Susan Munson, chairperson of the Winter Carnival Committee. “We also don’t have a pusher. If they want someone to push them they have to have their own person.”

A snow sculpture contest at 620 Freeman Ave. is also on Saturday, and individuals, school classes, organizations and businesses may enter. Folks can begin their creations at any time after signing up at Encampment Town Hall, 614 McCaffrey Street.

Late registration is available at the kids’ sled races, and judging by local artists begins at 3 p.m. The sculptors must be present at the judging, and first place is $200, second is $150, third is $100 and “People’s Choice” is $75.

“We have piles of snow right now and we have some nasty ones, but we should have enough for them to do something with,” Munson said.

The Winter Carnival continues at 11 a.m. Sunday with judging for the chili and bread cook-offs at the Grand Encampment Opera House. Chili chefs can bring their red or green chili in a container for judging to the Opera House between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. First place is $75, second is $50, third is $25 and “People’s Choice” is $50.

For the bread cook-off, bakers can bring their home-cooked loaves to the Opera House between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. The three categories include “Quick”, “Yeast” or “Sweet Bread”. First place is $75, second is $50, third is $25 and “People’s Choice” is $50.

Those who have never particited in a curling game will get their chance at noon using frozen chickens. Curlers should meet at Sixth and Barnett Ave., and bring their own frozen chicken per team. First place is $140, second is $100 and third is $60.

For the Sixth Street Sprint, snowmobilers will meet at 1 p.m. at Sixth and Barnett Ave. The race is clocked by radar and is one block.

Prizes will be given to the faster of two runs, and age groups include 10 to 12 years, 13 to 16 years, 17 to 54 years and 55 years and over. First place, in each age group, is $30, second is $20 and third is $10. Helmets and eye protection are required by all participants.

Those interested in snow golf can bring their own clubs to try a swing with tennis balls in the snow at 2 p.m. Golfers meet at Sixth and Barnett Ave., and there are three categories, including men, women and children, which are handicapped accordingly. Overall prizes are $30 for first place, $20 for second and $10 for third.

Casino Night has been cancelled for this year.

Sierra Madre Winter Carnival buttons are also for sale at Encampment Town Hall, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and during the carnival.


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