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WinterFest in Manson

The second week of Winterfest featured Manson, Washington on beautiful Lake Chelan. The weather was perfect for the celebration put on by the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce and the Manson Chamber of Commerce. On Saturday, visitors at the event were delighted to see falling snow, adding to the ambience of Winterfest.

Wapato Way, the main street through town was blocked off Friday afternoon so crews could prepare for the event. Ice carvers were busy making amazing ice sculptures that were display throughout town. Tents were setup to house the “Ice Bar”, sponsored by North Cascades Bank and the “Main Stage”, sponsored by Wapato Point Resort. Firepits and seating was setup at several locations on main street. Music was featured on the Main Stage and several wineries in the area, even karaoke at Buddy’s Place.

The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce kicked off Saturday with a Bubble Brunch at 11:00, held at their satellite office on Wapato Way in Manson. The Bubble Brunch is a celebration of the world-class bubbles produced in the Lake Chelan Valley. Attendees enjoy unlimited bubbles, a catered brunch from Even Keel Roadhouse, and folks learn a little about the sparkling wine produced here in Lake Chelan.

The Manson Chamber of Commerce’s Visitors Center opened its doors at 12:00 on Saturday with several fun events. “Face Painting” was a huge success with hundreds of beautiful faces painted. We thank our amazing face painters, Heather Jacobson, Ebony Valle and Kim Ustanik. Kids picked up a bag with everything they needed for the popular “Mitten Walk” and Elsa and Olaf were available for photos.

Rootwood Cider Company offered a “Guided Snowshoe Orchard Trek” at 11:00 at their Orchard Tasting Room, located at 1731 Totem Pole Road. People enjoyed the “Cocoa & S’more Crawl” at Lake Chelan Winery, Rio Vista Wines, Skagit Cellars, Wapato Point Cellars and WineGirl Wines.

The Ice Bar opened at 12:00 to 10:00 featuring many local wines and Bloody Mary’s from the Bloody Good Company 12:00 to 2:00. Live Music on the Main Stage featured The Skiffs, Jacob Simms and Joel Gibson Jr.

Establishments downtown were filled with people enjoying this special weekend. Main

street was buzzing with folks getting warm by the firepits. The crowds gathered for the “Fireworks Display” that went off at 6:30. Later the “Flaming Tower” was lite to the crowd’s approval, as awesome site.

On Sunday, January 22, Manson held the 5th Annual Viki Downey “Polar Bear Plunge” at Manson Bay. We thank Jim Harding for supplying a couple truck load of firewood for the bonfire. Several students from Manson High School helped unload and stack the wood on Saturday.

This event raises money for “Lake Chelan Swim”, a local non-profit that provides free swim lesson to anyone in the Chelan Valley during the summer months. People began arriving at 12:00, some not quite sure why they made this crazy decision! Other had secured sponsors, raising money with their plunge. The crowd grew as the 1:00 start neared. People were dressed in all kinds of attire, from a penguin suit to bikinis!

Todd Link, owner WineGirl Wines and MC for the day led the countdown from ten and then they were off! An estimated 75 souls ran into the 38-degree water and screams could be heard for blocks away. Soon everyone was out of the water and standing around the bonfires, drying off and getting warm. This year the Viki Downey Polar Bear Plunge raised over $11,000, which will provide water safety and swim lesson for a multitude of people. Donate to the Lake Chelan Swim by visiting their website at or mail your check to PO Box 159 – Chelan, WA 98816 -attention Judy Phelps.

Winterfest 2023 in Manson was a huge success thanks to the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, the Manson Chamber of Commerce and the many sponsors and volunteers that gave of their time and resources.

By Norm Manly

Community Volunteer

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