Winsted Winter Festival
The first weekend of December is a chilly time of year, but in Winsted, there’s plenty of warmth and light to go around.
In 2016, Winsted celebrated its 28th annual Winsted Winter Festival (sponsored by the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce), which featured a lighted Christmas parade, snowmobile show, art exhibit, visits from Santa Claus, and more.
Each year, the festivities begin with a holiday outdoor lighting contest judged by residents of St. Mary’s Care Center and members of the chamber of commerce.
The 2016 winners were: Lucas Hill ($100), Ken and Jackie Zimmerman ($75), and Richard Colegrove ($50).
The first Friday and Saturday in December, activities typically include business open houses, a silent auction at the library. a vintage snowmobile show, photos taken with Santa Claus, lunch served by the Winsted royalty, a dessert social and bake sale hosted by the Holy Trinity Council of Catholic Women (CCW), face painting, and more.
The second annual chili cook-off took place the Saturday of the festival in 2016. First place was a tie between Mark Cuhel and Jenna Lukes (The Pantry Cafe). Each won $75 and bragging rights. Third place went to Keith Bobrowske of Howard Lake. He received $25 and missed tying for first place by one vote.
Each year, the festival ends Saturday evening with a lighted Christmas parade. Winsted business K-Way Express was honored as grand marshal in the 2016 parade, for its many contributions to the community.
A model train, donated by Hub Hobby, is also given away each year. The 2016 winner was Kaydence Skiles of Winsted.
Plans are already in the making for the 2017 festival, set for Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2.