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Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
If you enjoy winter or merely tolerate it, there is something for you to do during this year’s annual Winterfest Celebration taking place Friday, February 22 to Sunday, February 24 in Denali National Park and the neighboring communities. The weekend festival showcases the area’s longest season in a variety of events for all ages, skill levels and interests! Scheduled activities include a crafts bazaar, dog sled rides, ice hockey exhibitions, snow sculpting contest, children’s craft activities, ranger-guided snowshoe walks, ice carving demonstrations, indoor presentations, a chili dinner, edible art, chili, and home brew competitions, and more! The complete schedule of activities is posted at www.nps.gov/dena, www.denaliborough.govoffice.com and at locations throughout the local communities.
Winterfest kicks off on Friday, February 22 in Healy as master ice carver Larry Moen creates a masterpiece in ice at the Tri-Valley Community Center. Friday evening events commence at 7:00 p.m. with a dessert potluck at the McKinley Village Community Center, followed by a 7:30 p.m. presentation on “Freshwater Ice Science” by Dr. Martin Jeffries of the National Science Foundation. Jeffries is using data on lake and river ice depths provided by school groups throughout the country, including local students from Healy, to create baseline information that may assist in monitoring global climate change. The Community Center is located about one-half mile from the junction at Mile 230 Parks Highway.
Saturday, February 23 events begin at 9:00 a.m. at the Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) in Denali National Park and the Tri-Valley Community Center in Healy. Hot drinks and refreshments will be provided at the MSLC from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The day is capped off with a chili feed beginning at 5:00 p.m., and ends with live music, all happening at the Community Center! The MSLC is located at Mile 1.3 on the Denali Park Road, and the Community Center is located at Mile 0.5 on the Usibelli Spur Road (Mile 248.8 Parks Highway) in Healy.
Meals, lodging and other services are available year-round in the communities of Healy and Cantwell. Free camping is available at the park’s Riley Creek Campground, with no running water. A vault toilet is provided for winter campers and water can be obtained at the Murie Science and Learning Center.
Winterfest is a community-wide event made possible by the assistance and contributions of Alaska Geographic (formerly the Alaska Natural History Association), Denali Borough, Denali Borough School District, Denali Education Center, Doyon/ARAMARK Joint Venture, and the National Park Service. For additional Winterfest information or to receive a schedule, call the Murie Science and Learning Center at (907) 683-9532 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily.