Beam me up: Grand Lake carnival ready to blast off
One-eyed aliens and flying saucers – “Space Oddity” is this year’s theme for Grand Lake’s Annual Winter Carnival. “We know it’s supposed to say ‘Odyssey,’ but it’s Grand Lake,” said self-proclaimed Carnival “Grand Poobah” Suzi Maki. “We can’t be normal up here, you know.”Every year, townspeople dress the part for Grand Lake’s snow-studded weekend, with winter competition such as bed sled races, parent-child sled pull, human bowling, teapot curling, and snow sculpture viewing. Participants can also take part in the snowman contest, flag football and kids steeplechase, and anyone can be in the parade. This year’s Carnival takes place Saturday, Feb. 5.The space oddity theme is taking hold in the town with costume planning and decorating. “People really seem to be having fun with this theme. It runs from Star Trek to Star Wars to Lost in Space,” Maki said. “Tinfoil is an amazing help in the outfits.”She and husband Jim Peterson plan to dress up as “some king and queen of some galaxy,” she said.And judges in the bed sled races plan to be Princess Leias. For the “Space Ball,” which starts at 8 p.m. at Pancho and Lefty’s, the decorating was in full-force this week.With the committee’s $500 decorating budget, Carnival revelers can expect plenty of LED lights. “I should have bought stock in LED companies,” Maki said. The Winter Carnival benefits the Grand Lake Fireworks Committee each year.As part of the festivities at 8 p.m. on Saturday night, a “short” fireworks display will take place on the lake. The display is expected to run for about 3 minutes.The greatest fundraising effort during Winter Carnival is the King and Queen contest, during which a couple parades the streets of Grand Lake raising money for the fireworks on behalf of respective businesses.This year’s candidates are: Felipe Robles and Patrice Zink of the Waconda; Dave and Donna Heaton of The Gateway Inn; Bob and Katie Nicholls of the Lariat Saloon; April and Ken Hilton of the Circle H and Caroline’s Cuisine; Hayden Burke and Tracey Williams of Pancho and Lefty’s; and Troy Nelson and Mindy Everhart of the Grand Lake Fire Department.Snow conditions are ideal for a winter festival this year. Grand Lake’s Public Works Director Bernie McGinn said Grand Avenue will be ready with plenty of snow brought in from storage around town. A groomer from the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District will condition the snow for the races. Businesses are preparing snow sculptures for the weekend. Although on Wednesday – when morning temperatures dipped to around minus 36 degrees – Doris Braun said flying-saucer sculpture-making on the deck of the Waconda was delayed. “It’s still pretty cold,” she said. The forecast called for improved temperatures by the weekend.
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