Whitefish Winter Carnival Bounces Back With 80s Theme

Events are once again taking place in person

By Mike Kordenbrock
Scenes from the Whitefish Winter Carnival Grand Parade in downtown Whitefish on Feb. 8, 2020. The 2020 parade theme was “Roaring 20s.” Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Following a remote schedule last year, the Whitefish Winter Carnival has returned this year to in-person activities.

With an ‘80s theme to the festivities, including a Jan. 15 disco party at the Great Northern Bar following the coronation of King Ullr and the Queen of the Snows at the O’Shaugnessy Center, Gala Chair Miriam Lewis said she’s hopeful that the 63rd carnival can keep going with its original purpose.

“You know, it all started to try to get people to be able to navigate through our winters a lot better, and give it a little bit of excitement and fun,” Lewis said.

Officially dubbed 80s Rewind Totally Rad, events kicked off  Jan. 8, and will continue through Feb. 16 with a button drawing at First Interstate Bank.

One aspect of the carnival will stay remote this year, according to Lewis. The ice sculpture competition in the past has brought about some logistical difficulties simply because of the need for snow that might not always be there. Last year the snow sculpture competition was reconfigured so that participants could build their sculptures remotely, document them, and then submit their entry virtually.

 “We’ve decided that’s something we’re continuing for the present time because that way people are able to create that sculpture when conditions are optimum,” Lewis said.

 While Lewis wouldn’t divulge any secrets about who will be named King Ullr and the Queen of the Snows at the upcoming coronation, she said that the 80s theme has gotten people “super excited.”

“It was touch and go for awhile wondering if we were going to pull it off this year,” she said. “It’s just exciting to have it back and it’s exciting to have us be able to go back to the original purpose, and the original mission of the Winter Carnival. We’re not only combatting the winter, but we’re combatting the last couple years of lockdown.

 Upcoming carnival events include a Jan. 21 Prince Frey and Princess Freya Coronation at Whitefish High School and Ski Joring at Big Mountain Ranch from Jan. 29 through Jan. 30.  The Grand Parade in downtown Whitefish is scheduled for Feb. 5 starting at 3 p.m. For a full list of events and more information, visit www.whitefishwintercarnival.com.

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