By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN Get ready for some pre-Christmas bliss The Winsted Winter Festival is set for Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8.
One highlight of the festival is the Christmas tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Because of extra sponsors, the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce was able to purchase a real tree to decorate the lake promenade this season.
Many of this weekend’s activities are free for anyone wearing a Winsted Winter Festival button, available for $2 locally at Flagship Bank, Glenn’s SuperValu, Keaveny Drug, Pantry Café, Roadhouse Coffee Shop, The Blue Note, Winsted Public Library, and from the Winsted royalty. For each button sold, the McLeod Emergency Food Shelf will receive 50 cents. In addition, those who purchase a button will be entered in a drawing to win $100, $75, or $50 in Winsted Bucks.
Wednesday, Dec. 5
Another opportunity to win $100, $75, or $50 in Winsted Bucks is the outdoor lighting contest. Homeowners who would like to participate should have their holiday display lights turned on by 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5. Judges include residents of St. Mary’s Care Center, along with members of the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce.
Friday, Dec. 7
The Adult Training and Habilitation Center (ATHC) will host its annual bake sale Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition, the ATHC thrift store will have a “giving tree” on display, decorated with ornaments labeled with a child’s name and Christmas wish.
The Winsted Library Commission’s silent auction with both new and gently-used items will take place Friday from 2 to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Bids will be accepted Friday, starting at 2 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the libraries and accelerated reading programs at Holy Trinity School, Winsted Elementary, and Lester Prairie School. Thrivent Financial will provide matching funds.
Friday evening will feature a Christmas concert at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Beverages and hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6 p.m., and the concert will start at 7:15 p.m. Cost is a free-will donation.
Open houses are also planned Friday at the Roadhouse Coffee Shop, Flagship Bank, Flagship Insurance Services, and Winsted Floral & Gifts.
Saturday, Dec. 8
An open house for accounting firm Gerard E. Stifter, LLC, will take place Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 109 2nd St. S., Suite 1.
The Blue Note is the site of many activities Saturday, including Santa Claus visits from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ruben Duran will be available to take photos. The St. Paul Railroad Club will have a display on-hand, and a model train set will be given away to a child age 12 or under.
The free vintage snowmobile show and swap meet will take place in The Blue Note parking lot from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, contact Rick Menden at (320) 485-4269 or Greg Davidson at (320) 485-2326.
Outside The Blue Note, children will also have an opportunity to take hay wagon rides from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., sponsored by Fleischacker Landscaping and Carlson’s Orchard. During that time, the Winsted royalty will serve food at The Blue Note.
Another opportunity to dine will take place at the Winsted American Legion, starting at 4 p.m. Prime rib, jumbo breaded shrimp, BBQ ribs, salad bar, baked potato, French fries, and beverages will be available.
To complete the meal, Holy Trinity’s Council of Catholic Women (CCW) will offer a dessert social and bake sale from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. in the Holy Trinity School cafeteria. Visitors can enjoy treats to eat-in or take-out, as well as coffee and cider, a visit from Santa Claus, and live music by Mike Fasching.
Coffee and cider will also be provided earlier in the evening, during the lighting of the Winsted Christmas tree at 5:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to join visiting royalty for Christmas caroling as the tree is being lit on the lake promenade, next to Mill Reserve Park.
The grand finale of the evening will be the lighted Christmas parade through downtown Winsted, starting at 6:30 p.m. with grand marshals, Littfin Lumber Company. Royalty and businesses from the surrounding area are encouraged to participate. No pre-registration is required, and participants can line up near The Blue Note.