WINTHROP The town will herald the holiday season this weekend at the annual Christmas at the End of the Road.
The theme is “A Cowboy Christmas,” keeping with the town’s Old West quality, and several favorite traditions are returning, from the hot air balloon glow to the arrival of Santa Claus and even a midday fun run.
To kick off the festivities on Friday, Grandma Winthrop will read children’s stories at the Trail’s End Bookstore, 231 Riverside Ave., from 2-4 p.m. There will be one noticeable difference in the town’s well-known grandmotherly figure.
“We have a substitute Granny Winthrop this year as Georgia Sanders is getting a shoulder replacement,” Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Kristen Smith said. The identity of the new Grandma Winthrop was unknown as of press time.
The hot air balloon glow will be hosted by Morning Glory Balloon Tours at 5 p.m. on the north end of Riverside Avenue. Chamber Treasurer Julie Muyallert called the event “a crowd-pleasing favorite.”
“We close off part of the street for the glow. It is really neat,” Smith said.
Businesses will be open Saturday with prize drawings while carolers stroll along the sidewalks, and starting at 3 p.m. the Methow Valley Snowmobile Association will provide small fires for visitors to warm their hands.
Santa arrives at noon at the Winthrop Barn, 51 state Highway 20, but not before traveling through the downtown area to wave hello.
“Every year he arrives via a different mode of transportation. Last year it was a snowmobile,” Smith said. “Who knows what it will be this year, but it always is very entertaining.”
A 5K fun run will be at 1 p.m., starting near the ice rink and going over the Spring Creek Pedestrian Bridge and through town. A 1K run for children will begin at the same time. Registration begins at 12:45 p.m. at Winthrop Mountain Sports, 257 Riverside Ave.
The fun run is free, but a donation of one canned food product per person is encouraged. The donations will be given to The Cove.
A tractor-pulled wagon ride will be from 1-4 p.m. Saturday for Children’s Winter Fest, and at the same time the Kiwanis Club will provide free photos with Santa at the Barn.
Refreshments will be sold there.
Carolers should meet at Town Hall, 206 Riverside Ave., at 3 p.m. for two hours of singing holiday tunes.
The town lighting will be at 5 p.m., and fireworks will cap the festivities at 6 p.m. Saturday.