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Sunday, April 5, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho Voices

Annual Winter Carnival offers fun indoors and out

By Patty Hutchens Staff writer

Although the theme for this year’s Sandpoint Winter Carnival was chosen long ago, it could not be more appropriate given the weather that has hit this area since mid December. The theme – “For the Love of Snow” – is a reflection of all that Sandpoint has to offer for outdoor enthusiasts.

But even if you are not a fan of the snow that has taken over the region for a second year in a row, the upcoming Winter Carnival will offer both outdoor and indoor activities.

“We have a very passionate group of volunteers who really have pulled this (the Winter Carnival) together,” said Amy Little, executive director for the Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday evening is the traditional kickoff to the Carnival with the Taste of Sandpoint. The event is usually held at the Cedar Street Bridge Public Market, but when the bridge shut down on Dec. 22 because of water damage, the location for this year’s event was changed to the Sandpoint Business and Events Center at the corner of Pine and Euclid.

“It is a really nice venue,” said Heather Bennett of the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce.

The Taste of Sandpoint, which will run from 5 to 8 p.m., showcases the finest food from area restaurants. The admission is free and food and drink tickets can be purchased for $1 each with most offerings priced between $3 and $7. Some of the restaurants featured this year include the newly opened 41 South, Cafe Trinity, Pend Oreille Pasta, Ivano’s Ristorante, Tango Cafe, Pine Street Bakery, Pend d’Oreille Winery and many more.

According to Little, the new venue will be able to hold at least as many, if not more, attendees than in years past at the Cedar Street Bridge.

On Friday, people can visit downtown Sandpoint and get a glimpse of the artistic talent this town has to offer. For the first year the Winter Carnival will host an ArtTrek as part of the planned activities. From 5 to 8 p.m., people can stroll through picturesque downtown Sandpoint and visit the wine bars, galleries and unique shops that will showcase the creations of local and regional artists.

In addition there will be live music and appetizers at many of the downtown locations. Self guided maps are available at the Chamber of Commerce as well as many of the Downtown Sandpoint Business Association offices and shops.

This year the Winter Carnival’s bonfire, which begins at 6:30 Friday night, will be at Jeff Jones Town Square at Main and Third. The move from the traditional spot of City Beach was to allow people to also enjoy the newly added rail jam event.

From 7 to 10 p.m. skiers and snowboarders will compete on handrails and other specially built rails. Participants will be judged on style, amplitude, difficulty and variety with cash awarded to the winner.

If hanging out in the cool winter air is not something that appeals to you, a great indoor event is awaiting you at the Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave. in downtown Sandpoint. At 7:30 on Friday evening, Casey MacGill’s Blue 4 Trio will perform. Playing music from the 1920s to the 1960s the trio sings in three-part harmony. For tickets and information, call 263-6139.

Next Saturday and Jan. 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dover Bay Waterfront Community and Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby’s International Realty will co-host the Dover Bay Midwinter Art Fest. This will offer yet another opportunity for art enthusiasts to enjoy some of the beautiful artwork in this area, entertainment and refreshments.

“The concept is called the Mobile Artist Open House,” said coordinator Gary Lirette, who said this is the 15th art show he and his team have put together in the last two years. “It came from an idea to try and get art out into the communities, away from the studios, in a more fun environment.”

There will be a total of 38 artists participating in the event including Janene Grende, the Festival at Sandpoint’s poster artist from 2007, Barbara Janusz, Diana Moses Botkin and Karen Robinson. Other artists will be represented by various Sandpoint studios including The Artists’ Studio Tour, Artworks Gallery, The Schweitzer Artist Studio, and Timberstand Gallery.

Dover Bay is two miles from downtown Sandpoint on Highway 2. It has 11 distinct waterfront neighborhoods, a cafe, marina, fitness center and fabulous views. There will be family fun with snow volleyball and a polar bear plunge in the heated pool.

“This will be a great opportunity to see a wonderful and most successful waterfront development in our neck of the woods, and see the work of dozens of local artists,” said Lirette.

For those who have been eager to enjoy the snow that Mother Nature has dumped on the ski resorts, next Saturday is a great opportunity to enjoy Schweitzer Mountain Resort. After a day of skiing or boarding, Schweitzer will host its traditional torchlight parade, fireworks display and live music.

On Jan. 18, one of the most popular Winter Carnival events – the K-9 Keg Pull – begins at 10 a.m. behind Eichardt’s Pub in the 300 block of Cedar Street. Dogs of all sizes will compete against similar-sized canines as they pull small to full-size empty kegs. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Panhandle Animal Shelter in Sandpoint.

Whether you choose to attend one or all of the events, Little said there will be something for everyone.

“This year we have added some new and exciting events,” said Little adding that last year they saw an increase in out-of-town visitors from years past and she expects to see the trend continue especially with the lodging specials that are offered by area hotels. (See for a complete list).

“I know there’s snow everywhere, but there’s no place more beautiful in the winter than Sandpoint,” said Little.

Contact correspondent Patty Hutchens by e-mail at

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