LAKEVIEW — Winter was back in force for this year’s Winterfest in Lakeview, where more than 100 snowmobilers gathered to show their sleds, swap and sell, and compete in BEVRA vintage snowmobile racing on Tamarack Lake.
The two-day event also featured food booths, courtesy of the Lakeview Lions Club, and a beer tent with live music, sponsored by the Lakeview Area Jaycees.
According to Jaycees member Chad Lincoln, one of the primary organizers of both the beer tent and races, more than 100 snowmobilers turned out to take part in the show and races. The success of Winterfest 2013 was a relief of sorts to organizers, who saw greatly reduced attendance at last year’s event, owing in large part to the almost complete lack of typical winter weather.
“It’s great that we had some winter this year,” Lincoln said. “It makes all the difference.”
Area businesses that count on the influx of customers during Winterfest also were pleased with the huge crowds. McKenna’s Village Tavern, a staple “hang-out” for locals, was pushed to capacity Saturday afternoon by 5 p.m., with virtually every seat filled with hungry snowmobilers ready to “fuel up.”
“It was steady all day yesterday,” said Alice McKenna, who along with her husband, Greg, own the restaurant. “It’s been steady again all day today, but once the races are over, it’ll really get crazy.”
Attendance at the beer tent Friday night was only average, but Saturday night more than made up for that lack. According to Greg McKenna, several customers had commented that they were saving the beer tent for Saturday night because they needed to get up early Saturday for the races.
According to the Lions Club members manning the food wagon near the races, business had been booming throughout the weekend.
Tamarack Sports sponsored an ice fishing derby for those who prefer their sports at a slower, quieter pace. Ice fishing shanties dotted the lake beyond the racing area.
Brad Fornier, who came to Lakeview for the races, also spent some time on the lake fishing, though not as part of the organized contest. Fornier had planned to attend the event last year but stayed home because of the weather.
“It’s good to have winter back this year,” Fornier said. “This is a great place for classic snowmobile races. My wife and I have been looking forward to it since July.”
For those who wanted a little closer contact with the lake than simply sitting or racing on the ice, the Wildcat P.R.I.D.E. Runfest sponsored the P.R.I.D.E Plunge. More than 20 plungers took part in the dive into the icy waters of Tamarack Lake to raise money for the school’s P.R.I.D.E. program.
One additional Winterfest highlight was a fireworks show Saturday evening. The fireworks were again sponsored by the Lakeview Jaycees.
Winterfest is one of two major festivals held in Lakeview each year — the other being Summerfest — and both are sponsored in large part by the Lakeview Area Chamber of Commerce.