A plethora of unusual winter activities awaits those who travel to Encampment this weekend for the town’s annual Sierra Madre Winter Carnival.
The carnival on Friday and Saturday, entering its 34th year, features activities ranging from the artistic to the athletic, including a snowman painting contest , “human saucer bowling”, and snow-golf.
The event was launched to give area residents something to do during the winter months, said Doreen Harvey, Encampment’s clerk-treasurer.
“And to get people to our local businesses during the winter,” she said. “I would say we usually have more than 100 entrants (for different events), which is pretty good for a small town mid-winter event.”
People wishing to compete in “snowman painting” must register at Encampment’s Town Hall by noon Friday so judges know where around Encampment the various snowmen will be built.
Once built, the snowmen can be decorated in any way, but the decoration must involve paint, Harvey said — most often colored water. Competitors will have until noon Saturday to finish their entries.
“We’re looking for creativity,” she said. “We’re looking for things that are unusual.”
Also on Friday will be a “treasure hunt,” where participants will be given clues to solve and challenges to complete to claim the treasure.
On Saturday, after a pancake breakfast served by members of Encampment’s Veterans of Foreign Wars, sled races will begin at 10 a.m.
The races are open to preschool and grade school students, but a “build your own sled” competition, where homemade sleds will face off in a downhill race, will be open to anyone, Harvey said.
“We’ve seen some interesting things come down this hill over the years,” she said.
Likewise, the “human saucer bowling” will be open to preschool and elementary school students, although an open class will also be available for adults.
Each competitor will be given two runs to knock down as many pins — 2-liter pop bottles filled with sand — as possible.
“Kids just sit on that saucer and we have pins set up,” Harvey said. “Bowling rules apply. All the sledders will get two chances.”
Lunchtime will feature chili and bread cook-offs.
A snowmobile “sprint” will begin at 1:45 p.m., where snowmobilers will try to post the best time traveling a city block. “Snow golf,” where golfers bring one club and try negotiate a snow-covered course, will begin at 2:15 p.m.
Activities wrap up at 7 p.m. with a casino night, open to adults only, at the Grand Encampment Opera House.
Admission to most events is free, although there is a charge for the pancake breakfast. For more information, visit the Carbon County Visitors Council