With Survivor theme, Winter Carnival modifies annual events

by HEIDI DESCH
Editor | January 13, 2021 1:00 AM

The frivolity of the annual Whitefish Winter Carnival looks a little different this year.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional Carnival events like the Grand Parade have been shelved until next year. However, organizers are planning to continue the tradition of “surviving the grey of middle winter by making merry through a series of interactive challenges” taking place online.

The theme for the LXII Winter Carnival is Survivor and features a number of challenges running through the first weekend in February that are designed to celebrate the Carnival tradition.

Josh Akey, with the Winter Carnival, said Carnival organizers working with Mayor John Muhlfeld and City Manager Dana Smith decided that to keep the safety of the community first that meant moving to a virtual event this year.

“We decided that in the tradition of the Whitefish Winter Carnival we needed to have some sort of event,” he said. “This started 60 years ago to break up the doldrums of long overcast winters. With everyone enduring ‘Covid 2020’ there was no better time to celebrate Whitefish Winter Carnival LXII with the theme of Survivor in any fashion.”

The Carnival’s Survivor theme is a nod to the reality TV competition series that features a group of contestants deliberately stranded in an isolated location where they must provide food, water, fire and shelter for themselves. The contestants compete in challenges for rewards and immunity from elimination.

Some challenges require artistic talent like the Quilt Challenge sponsored by the Whitefish Quilt Store that asks quilters to create a small wall hanging quilt or the Freya’s Art Gallery Challenge that calls for creating an original piece of art depicting any Carnival royal or character.

Some challenges have a little fun with the events of 2020, the Great Toilet Paper Challenge asks participants to guess the number of toilet paper rolls in the window of Imagination Station and participants are asked to bring a wrapped roll of toilet paper to donate to the North Valley Food Bank at the end of the challenges.

Akey said the Carnival organizers rather than ask the community for donations this year looked to drive challenges toward the local businesses that have been loyal supporters of the Carnival throughout the years.

The Carnival's signature sponsors — Whitefish Mountain Resort, Glacier Bank, Firebrand Hotel and the Don “K” car dealership — stood behind the organization even with the switch to less tangible events than in years past, he noted.

Prizes for some of the different challenges include winning Carnival buffs, posters, buttons or necklaces, while others come with cash or gift certificates as prizes.

Akey said while people are obviously disappointed the in-person Carnival can’t take place this year, the response to the online challenges has already been positive. The song writing contest has been drawing submissions from around the country, he noted.

Other Carnival events are taking place virtually this year. The annual Yeti Doll auction is being held online and the coronation of Prince Frey and Princess Freya will be streamed online.

For detailed information about the challenges and events, visit www.whitefishwintercarnival.com

The list of challenges and virtual events include:

Quilt Challenge: Though Jan. 31, sponsored by the Whitefish Quilt Store

Songwriters Challenge: Through Jan. 15

Great Toilet Paper Challenge: Through Jan. 14 at Imagination Station

Meet the Yeti Dolls: On display at McGough and Co. downtown, and online auction Feb. 1-5

Freya’s Art Gallery Challenge: Through Feb. 8.

Rock’s Challenge: Find painted rocks throughout town until all 62 found

Queen of the Snow’s Snow Sculpture Challenge: Through Feb. 3, voting online

King and Queen Coronation: Online film after Jan. 17

Yeti Ornament Challenge: Through Jan. 31 at Stumptown Art Studio

Double the Bubble, Double the Fun: Through Jan. 31 at Sage and Cedar

Frey and Freya Coronation: Jan. 23 online

Submit Your Favorite Carnival Memory: Online through Feb. 7

Glacier Nordic Club Carnival Classic Ski and Race: Feb. 6, sign up online at glaciernordicclub.org