Festivities begin this weekend for 59th annual Winter Carnival

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A Yeti works the crowd before the start of the Whitefish Winter Carnival Grand Parade. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot file photo)

This year’s Whitefish Winter Carnival looks to celebrate a piece of the town’s heritage in skiing the slopes of Big Mountain.

The theme for Winter Carnival is Fly Like An Eagle — a celebration of 70 years of skiing on Big Mountain.

The 59th annual Winter Carnival theme is also a nod to the nickname of Michael Edwards, known as Eddie the Eagle, a British ski jumper who in 1988 became the first competitor since 1929 to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping. Edwards is set to serve as grand marshal for the Grand Parade.

This year, the Carnival’s main events fall Feb. 2-4.

Paul Johannsen, with Winter Carnival, said the Carnival committee selected the theme for the Carnival last spring and this fall was able to secure Edwards, who is expected to attend several events in Whitefish that week.

The month-long lead up to Carnival weekend begins Saturday, Jan. 6 with the always raucous Merry Maker at the Moose Lodge at 6 p.m. This annual roast of Whitefish is when the new Prime Minister and Duchess of Lark are revealed. During the Merry Maker, folks will get a chance to bid on a day of cat skiing with Edwards on Feb. 1. Great Northern Powder Guides donated the adventure and there is nine spots to accompany Edwards.

The coronation of King Ullr and the Queen of Snows is Saturday, Jan. 13 at 5 p.m. at the O’Shaughnessy Center, followed by the Disco Party. Frey and Freya are crowned Jan. 20 at 5:30 p.m. at the Whitefish High School basketball game.

The World Invitational Whitefish Ski Joring races will take place Jan. 27 and 28 at the Whitefish Municipal Airport. The weekend features an exciting combination of horses, riders and skiers mixed with speed, jumps and snow.

The Gala is Feb. 2 at the Whitefish Lake Restaurant.

The main day for the Carnival is Saturday, Feb. 3. The Penguin Plunge is at 11 a.m. at City Beach, followed by a pie social at 12:30 p.m. at St. Charles Catholic Church. The Grand Parade makes its way through downtown beginning at 3 p.m.

Wrapping up events on Sunday, Feb. 4, the Rotary club hosts a pancake breakfast at the Moose Lodge from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The hearty Montana-style menu includes a full breakfast of pancakes, sausage, eggs, and biscuits and gravy, all of the trimmings and a festive, family-friendly atmosphere.

For more information, visit www.whitefishwintercarnival.com.

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