Winterfest on tap for Presidents’ Day weekend in Virginia City

If you’ve got a case of the mid-winter blues, Virginia City is the place to be this weekend as the community celebrates the annual Winterfest.

What started back in the 1980s as a way to break up the long southwest Montana winters has evolved in to a much-anticipated tradition complete with a broomball tournament, two man log sawing competitions and doggy wheelbarrow races.

“It’s just to bring families together to get them out of the house,” said Joanne Erdall, event organizer.

In the 1980s Virginia City was a small town full of young families, Erdall said. Everyone was looking for a way to break up the winter.

Initially it was called Cabin Fever Winterfest, she said.

“We had lots of families here and lots of children back then,” Erdall said.

An informal group began the event and built the local hockey rink to host the broomball tournament.

However, as families moved away the momentum behind the event waned. Winterfest went on hiatus for about 10 years between 1994 and 2003, she said.

But when she and Candy Vincent and Micki Benedict decided to get the event going again, it took off, she said.

It’s still a family oriented event with things to do all around town including a craft bazaar, sledding and lots of food.

The broomball tournament will begin on Friday night at 6 p.m. lasting all day on Saturday with the championship game at 1p.m. on Sunday. Kids’ sledding will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. The two-man log sawing contest will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Indoor events include live music by Holy Schmidt on Saturday night at the Pioneer Bar and a craft bazaar, antiques and collectibles at the Virginia City Cafe throughout the weekend.

For more information or to register your broomball team, call Erdall at 843-5346.

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