By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN Santa is making his list, and checking it twice so he doesn’t miss the 21st annual Winsted Winter Festival this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4-5, sponsored by the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce.
Santa is even bringing along Mrs. Claus to join in the fun weekend which is offering some traditional events, as well as some new contributions.
To kick off the festival, the annual holiday outdoor lighting contest will take place Wednesday, Dec. 2.
It will include all homes in Winsted that have their lights turned on that evening.
Judging the displays will be residents of St. Mary’s Care Center, along with members of the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce, who will take a tour of the town, deciding on first, second, and third place winners.
Prizes for the lighting contest will be awarded in Winsted Bucks first place will win $100, second place will win $75, and third place will win $50.
Beginning early in the day Friday, Dec. 4, Flagship Bank Winsted and Winsted Floral and Gifts will have their annual open houses.
A silent auction at the Winsted library from 2 to 5 p.m., sponsored by the library commission, will be the 11th anniversary for the auction, which will continue Saturday, Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The proceeds raised at the auction will be divided between Holy Trinity, Winsted Elementary, and the Lester Prairie schools’ libraries and accelerated reading programs. A matching fund is provided by Thrivent Financial.
Also Friday is the sixth annual Christmas dinner concert at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Winsted, to begin with a social hour at 5 p.m.
Following the dinner, The Golden Strings will perform at the church at 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $10 at the door.
Winter festival schedule for Saturday
Saturday, Dec. 5, the winter festival continues with a day packed full of entertainment for the whole family.
In the morning, several activities will take place at the Winsted City Hall.
There will be hay rides, model trains and vintage snowmobiles on display, a visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, and chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
Later Saturday afternoon, a Legion Club dinner, a lighted Christmas parade, a dessert social, and a free Higher Ground concert at Holy Trinity School will bring an end to the festival.
The Adult Training and Habilitation Center is providing two Christmas trees at the American Legion and city hall for Saturday, Dec. 5
The tree will be decorated with Christmas ornaments labeled with a child’s name and their Christmas wish.
Anyone wishing to grant a Christmas wish to a child should stop by and select an ornament from either tree.
Hay rides will leave and return to city hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., sponsored by Fleischacker Landscaping and Carlson Apple Orchards.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available to visit with the children, and Duran Photography will be there to take pictures from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The St. Paul Railroad Club will have trains on display in the Vollmer Room at city hall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with free admission.
Register for a model train set, to be given away to a child 12 or under. A winter festival button is required to register.
Vintage snowmobile owners will have all makes and models of the snow machines on display behind the city hall from 11 a.m. to 3 pm.
This will be the second year for the snowmobile displays which drew a good crowd last year for the first show ever.
Close by, while visitors look over the different makes and models of snowmobiles, chestnuts roasting on an open fire will be offered, sponsored by Winsted Hardware.
The Winsted royalty will serve lunch at the city hall from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., offering barbecues or hot dogs, chips, and pickles.
The evening starts with dinner at the Legion at 4:30 p.m. until the food is gone. The menu is prime rib, jumbo breaded shrimp, BBQ ribs, and combo dinners, to include salad bar, baked potato or French fries, and beverage.
Don’t miss the lighted Christmas parade through downtown Winsted starting at 6:30 p.m. with grand marshals, the Winsted Wildcats baseball team.
A dessert social, and Christmas bake, craft and gift sale at the Holy Trinity School cafeteria is sponsored by Holy Trinity Council of Catholic Women. Eat-in or take out.
To end the evening, a free holiday concert is scheduled featuring Rebekah Antoine, singer and songwriter, at 7:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity’s gym, sponsored by Higher Ground.
Winsted Winter Festival buttons are on sale this week for $2.
Button winners can win $100, $75 or $50 in Winsted bucks.
The winter festival button winners will be announced in the Dec. 7 Herald Journal.
The buttons can be used for admission on hay wagon rides. McLeod County Food Shelf will receive 50 cents for each button sold.
Buttons can be purchased at Flagship Bank Winsted, Glenn’s Super Valu, Keaveny Drug, the Pantry Cafe, Winsted Hardware, Winsted Public Library, and from members of the Winsted royalty. Buttons will also be available at the city hall, Saturday, Dec. 5.