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Sandpoint's Winter Carnival

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Photo credit iStock/Al Lemire Photo credit iStock/Al Lemire

Early January and, unlike last year, the moisture falling incessantly from the skies in many areas is mostly in liquid form—mud season is already making an appearance. But no need to let that get you down, as the Downtown Sandpoint Business Association, and the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce, partner up for the 2010 Winter Carnival!

And you don’t have to wait to get started. Some of the area’s best restaurants and wine bars and offering up special pricing and even special menus to liven up the dark days of winter: look for them from January 14 through February 16 (covering Winter Carnival and Mardi Gras, too!)

Who’s participating? Try 41 South, Slates, the Hydra, Dish, Jalapenos, Ivano’s, Oishhi Bar, Eichardt’s, Arlo’s, MickDuff’s, Chimney Rock, Trinity, Bangkok Cuisine, the Fifth Avenue and Connie’s Cafe!

And it’s not just special pricing. There’s free items and special events and more.

How ‘bout a three-course meal for $20? You can get that at 41 South. Or that same 20 bucks can get you two gourmet burgers, seasoned steak fries, two soft drinks and a slice of homemade Mud Pie at Slates. Twenty dollars at Dish will get you a choice of one of three entrees, and one of two salads, plus a glass of house red or white wine,

To learn about more great deals, visit online here.

Winter Carnival officially kicks off on January 14 with the Taste of Sandpoint, a local tradition for nibblers and samplers. Over a dozen restaurants will participate from 5 to 8 pm at the Sandpoint Events Center at 515 Pine St, offering their “best specialties at bite-sized prices.”

You can spend the day shopping downtown and pick up a “Passport to Prizes.” Just half a dozen stamps on your passport from participating businesses enters you into a drawing for a number of prizes, including season passes for two to the Festival at Sandpoint, lift tickets at Schweitzer, and more.

On Friday, don’t miss the winter Art Trek from 5 to 7 pm. Enjoy original artworks and complimentary hors d’oeuvres while you visit with the artists. Also from 5 to 8, Taylor Parker Chevrolet at 300 Cedar St. will feature short action films on skiing and snowboarding. And from 6 to 7 pm, the always enjoyable Bioluminescence Fire Dancers will hypnotize you with their oh-so-hot dance moves at the Pend d’Oreille Winery, located at 220 Cedar. From 6 to 9 pm, the Jeff Jones Town Square will feature the crowd-pleasing Rail Jam and Bonfire. This is considered to be one of the biggest events of Winter Carnival, a freestyle contest for skiers and snowboarders to show off their most acrobatic moves.

On Saturday, start things off from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm with a family fun day and coffee tasting at 524 Church, as Evans Brothers Coffee Roasting introduces you to hand-crafted coffees along with food, live music and indoor and outdoor activities for kids of all ages. Saturday night, the traditional torchlight parade and fireworks takes place on Schweitzer Mountain as the sun falls.

On Sunday, from 10 am to noon, it’s arguably one of the funnest events of the season—the K-9 keg pull at Eichardt’s Pub and Grill (212 Cedar). Dogs pull empty beer kegs as they race along the snowy alley (snow will be trucked in if Mother Nature fails to oblige); smaller pups can pull an empty beer can if the keg is a bit much. Bring your own dog to race, or just stop by to watch. Either way, you won’t regret it, and it all benefits the local animal shelter!

And what about that adult spelling bee?  It’s not a part of Winter Carnival this year but go ahead and mark your calendars because the event, sponsored by the Bonner County Daily Bee, will take place on February 5 in the community room at Panhandle State Bank. The Keokee team (which includes yours truly) will be back to defend their title. You don’t want to miss it!

Then catch your breath and get ready for downtown Sandpoint’s second blast of winter fun—Madcap Mardi Gras, which takes place this year on February 11 through February 16, with a special kickoff Bayou Bash and Masquerade Party at Cafe Trinity on February 6 (visit here for more information).Complere Winter Carnival information is available here.

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Landon Otis

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Sandpoint, events, Winter Carnival

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