Winsted Winter Festival Snowmobile Show
Dec. 4th 2010
The Winsted Winter Festival Snowmobile Show was a week away and we started watching the weather forecasts. "A chance of snow and highs in the 30s" it sounded perfect, a little snow to set the mood. As the show date approached the weather forecast changed...as they always do. Now the forecast was for a Winter Storm Warning and 6-8 inches of snow. It is ironic that a large snowfall isn't necessarily what you want for your snowmobile show. With an annual show the first Saturday in December, we really never had to worry about large amounts of snow. Timing of the storm would be key. According to forecasts it should be ending the morning of the show. A new issue for us to deal with would be timely plowing of a city street we would need for display, and a private plowing service to plow the parking lot. Maybe, just maybe the storm would track further north or south and we'd get less snow. (I can't believe I 'm wishing for "less" snow) No such luck. Winsted was ground zero for the largest snowfall amount of the storm. WCCO radio reported 13 inches of snow in the Lester Prairie and Winsted area. Thanks to great support from the community, snow removal was taken care of and our 3rd annual show was on.
The city of Winsted has held a winter festival for 22 years as a Chamber of Commerce event. 3 years ago the chamber contacted local antique/vintage collectors with a request for a snowmobile show to be added to their list of events. Events included pictures with Santa, a model train display by the St. Paul Railroad Club, hay rides, and an evening lighted parade. The request came 1 month before the event.
The first step was to contact John Zeglin for help. As luck would have it John was on his way to a meeting where he would put the word out to collectors in the area that might be willing to display their sleds. Area collectors did come to the rescue and that first year we had a nice display.
Year 2 we had award plaques for first place in 8 classes. Participants and spectators voted to determine the winners.
Every year we try to improve the show. With growth and the fact other festival events draw people to the same location; we were outgrowing our current location of the city hall.
Year 3 brought a much needed move to a bigger facility – The Blue Note Ballroom. This provided lots of room for all the events. We reserved a banquet room for the snowmobile portion of the event, other festival activities took place in the ballroom. Nila Hetteen was contacted for vintage videos to show. We expanded the classes to 11 and did 1st and 2nd place awards. To tie into the Winter Festival Parade, we invited the Grand Marshals to choose their favorite snowmobile and award a "Grand Marshal's Choice" award. The show drew about 50 sleds, a nice turnout despite the memorable 13 inch snowfall.
Submitted by Greg Davidson and RickMenden