By Starrla Cray
WINSTED It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year time for the Winsted Winter Festival. Activities will take place throughout town Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2.
New this year is an artisan boutique at the Winsted Arts Council building (141 Main Ave W.) from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Local artists will be displaying and selling their work, including wood crafts, fine jewelry, baked goods, metal arts, soaps, Christmas items, and fresh greenery holiday pots.
The 29th annual festival also includes an assortment of contests with prizes, including the medallion hunt (see sidebar), a residential lighting contest (judging is at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29), a business decorating contest (voting will be online; see the “Winsted Winter Festival” link at www.herald-journal.com for details), and a chili cook-off.
The third-annual chili cook-off is from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday. The entry fee is $15, and entrants should bring two gallons of chili to share. To taste and vote, the cost is $5 per person. The public is welcome to enjoy bowls of chili, crackers, cheese, and cookies. Proceeds will be donated to the Winsted Lions Club and the Winsted American Legion Club. Call/text JoLynn Cafferty at (612) 760-3403 for details.
Friday’s events include open houses at local businesses, a giving tree at Flagship Insurance Services, a silent auction at the library (also on Saturday), and a Christmas concert at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Winsted. The concert, which features Allen and Matt Carlson, will take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. A social prior to the concert will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The cost is a freewill donation.
Many of Saturday’s festivities take place at the Blue Note Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Santa Claus will be meeting children starting at 11:30 a.m., and Ruben Duran will be available to take photos. Children can enjoy face painting, a coloring contest, and hay wagon rides. They can also register for a chance to win a model train set or a bicycle.
During that time, the Winsted royalty will be serving barbecue sandwiches, hotdogs, chips, and pickles. The Holy Trinity Council of Catholic Women will be offering a bake sale, as well.
In the Blue Note parking lot, a vintage snowmobile show and swap meet will take place 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.
Saturday evening (starting at 5:30 p.m.) will be the sixth-annual lighting of the Winsted Christmas tree and singing of Christmas carols at Mill Reserve Park. The lighted Christmas parade will start at 6:30 p.m. through downtown Winsted, with grand marshal Gerard Stifter leading the way. (Look for a full story about Stifter in next week’s edition of the Herald Journal.)
No pre-registration is required for the parade. Participants should line up near the Blue Note. Student council members from Holy Trinity High School will be selling hot chocolate.
Pictures from the festival will be posted at photos.herald-journal.com; and some will be published in the Friday, Dec. 8 edition of the Herald Journal.
This year’s Winsted Winter Festival button design (pictured above) was created by Emily Dressel. The second-place winner was Taren Poulton, and third place went to Emily Guggemos. Buttons can be purchased for $2 each at select local businesses.
The second-annual Winsted Winter Festival Medallion Hunt will start Monday, Nov. 27 with the first clue to be found on the Herald Journal website (www.herald-journal.com) and the Winsted Chamber Facebook page.
Additional clues will be posted to these sites by 9 a.m. each day until the medallion is found. Clues will also be listed on the doors of the Winsted Library and Herald Journal office each day.
All rules can be found at www.winstedchamber.com. The hunt is sponsored by Herald Journal and TDS Telecom. The prize is $100 in Winsted Bucks, which can be used at local businesses. The winner will also get to keep the medallion.