WINSTED, MN Snow, short days, and cold temperatures may all mean that winter is here to stay, but they also herald Winsted’s annual Winter Festival, a town-wide holiday celebration.
This year, the festival will take place Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7, with several events beginning earlier in the week.
Preceding the festival, residents of St. Mary’s Care Center and members of the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce will judge residential light displays.
Participants must have lights turned on by 5:30 p.m. the night of Wednesday, Dec. 4 for a chance to win $100 in any of three themed categories. Themes are Reason for the Season, Classic Christmas, and A Christmas Story.
Flagship Insurance Service will have a giving tree in its lobby at 131 6th Street N. throughout the holiday season. The tree, a McLeod County Christmas project, will be decorated with ornaments labeled with children’s names and Christmas wishes. Festival-goers are encouraged to stop by between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to help brighten a child’s Christmas. Gifts are to be brought back to Flagship, unwrapped, by Thursday, Dec. 12.
St. John’s Lutheran Church will be ringing in the festival Friday, Dec. 6, with a concert featuring the Kingery Family at 7 p.m. Freewill donations will be accepted.
Winsted’s annual open house tour runs both days of the festival, with events at various businesses around town.
The Winsted Arts Council is partnering with local artists Saturday, Dec. 7. The Butcher, the Baker, and the Candlestick Maker Artisan Boutique will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. at 141 W. Main Street.
The Winsted Library will host its 21st silent auction, with bidding from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6 and 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Proceeds go to various programs at the library, including the library’s summer and winter reading programs.
Santa is coming to a new location this year, in the gym at Holy Trinity school, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.
Hay rides will be running from the gym between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., along with all kinds of other fun, including face painting, food, and free art classes from Amanda Doster.
To wrap up the festival, while leaving the spirit of Christmas in the air, the Winsted Christmas tree will be lit while carols are sung Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m. at Mill Reserve Park.
The tree-lighting will be followed by the lighted Christmas parade at 6:30 p.m. Pre-registration is not required for the parade. Participants are to meet for the line-up near the Blue Note.
Anyone who is feeling chilly before or after the lighted parade can stop by River of Life Church and get a hot meal in return for a freewill offering. The Winsted Lions will be at the church serving chili from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
For a full schedule of this year’s events and further details, look for Winter Festival posters in businesses around town.
Fourth annual medallion hunt
The fourth annual Winsted Winter Festival medallion hunt will begin Monday, Dec. 2. The first clue can be found at Herald-Journal.com and the Winsted Chamber Facebook page. Clues will be publicly posted at the Winsted Library, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate office, and the Herald Journal office each day by 9 a.m. until the medallion is found. Contest rules can be found at WinstedChamber.com.