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Winter festival – 25 years and counting

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 2013, Winsted celebrated its 25th annual Winsted Winter Festival (sponsored by the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce), which featured a lighted Christmas parade, snowmobile show, model train display, community choir concert, 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 2013 winners were Gary and Linda Deitrich of 221 Arthur Ave. in first place ($100), Brad and Leah Mallak of 616 Hunter Circle in second place ($75), and Kay Filkins of 116 Fairlawn Ave. E. in third place ($50). An honorable mention was awarded to Todd Kieser at 311 Andy Ave. W. by St. Mary’s Care Center resident Harley Kieser.

The Friday of the festival, a Christmas concert takes place at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Other activities that day typically include business open houses, a silent auction at the library, and bake sales.

More events are planned throughout Saturday, such as the vintage snowmobile show in the Blue Note parking lot. Inside the Blue Note, visitors can have photos taken with Santa Claus, check out the St. Paul Railroad Club model train display, and enjoy lunch served by the Winsted royalty.

Each year, the festival ends Saturday evening with a lighted Christmas parade.

Everyone who purchases a Winsted Winter Festival button is entered into a drawing for Winsted Bucks. The 2013 winners were Julie Guggemos of Winsted ($100), Tim Laxen of Winsted ($75), and Winsted Postmaster Ann Joos ($50).

Plans are already in the making for the 2014 festival, set for Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5 and 6.