West Shore Communities Gear Up for Winterfest

Lakeside, Somers host three-day winter festival this coming weekend

By Justin Franz

For more than a decade, Winterfest has been a beloved annual tradition on the Flathead Lake’s west shore. But this year, the annual event is taking a big step forward by expanding to three days, Jan. 23 to 25, in an effort to bring more people to Lakeside and Somers during the winter.

“Lakeside is an amazing community and we have a lot of fun here in the summer, but we want to prove that there is a lot to do here in winter too,” said Jessi Wood, snow sports director at Blacktail Mountain Ski Area.

The West Shore Visitors Bureau and the Lakeside and Somers Chamber of Commerce are spearheading the event that will spread from the summit of Blacktail Mountain to tiny downtown Somers. The event will include many new attractions, including outdoor movies on Friday and Saturday night and an ice rink at the Lakeside Town Center.

The event comes as the number of businesses in downtown Lakeside continues to grow. Last year the owners of the Tamarack Brewing Company opened two new restaurants at the town center, which was built in the 1990s and was completely vacant by 2013. That’s when Andrea and Josh Townsley purchased the building and refurbished it. The new eateries include Seven, named after the number on Flathead County license plates, that caters to the dinner crowd and Farmhouse, which offers local food with a southern twist for breakfast and lunch. Across town, the restaurant once known as The Docks reopened as ScottiBelli’s Acqua Pazza in 2014, following the success of the owners’ Italian restaurants in Kalispell. Other little shops have also opened their doors, including Kat’s Korner, which is owned by legendary Las Vegas showman Wayne Newton and his wife Kathleen.

David Fetveit, president of the Lakeside and Somers Chamber of Commerce and a visitor bureau board member, said the new Winterfest activities show that the event is taking “a big step forward” and organizers hope the lineup will attract people from rest of the valley and beyond.

Other highlights of the event include the family cup ski races on Blacktail Mountain. Wood said they hope to attract participants of all. Registration for the family cup races starts at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 24. Wood also said that online registration would be available in the days before the race. The starting gun fires off at 11 a.m. and the award ceremony is at 4 p.m. at Muley’s.

Meanwhile, closer to the lake, Sliter’s Ace Hardware in Somers will have sporting clay shooting from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Tamarack Brewing Company will also be a hotbed of activity, with a pig roast on Saturday and live music from 20 Grand starting at 7 p.m.

For more information about Winterfest and to see the full schedule of events, visit www.visitflatheadlake.com.

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