Whitefish cuts loose with its annual Winter Carnival, a tradition for more than 50 years. The celebration of craziness brings on penguins, yetis, Viking women, and royalty for events that include a torchlight parade and fireworks at Whitefish Mountain Resort as well as a homespun parade down Central Avenue.

The annual weekend of mayhem, scheduled this year Feb. 5-7, is built around the legend of King Ullr, the king of winter. Yetis attempted to kidnap his queen--a habit they continue to this day by trying to abscond with the Queen of the Snows. Viking women deluge event onlookers with big red kisses to protect them from the Yetis, too.

This year's Winter Carnival is honoring the centennial of neighboring Glacier National Park with its theme. The weekend packs with a hockey tournament, the Penguin Plunge into icy Whitefish Lake to raise money for Special Olympics, a furniture race, the Yeti Snowskate Jam, the Grand Parade, and snowmobile drags and snow cross. The torchlight parade and fireworks show takes place Saturday night at 7 p.m. on Ed's Run at the ski resort.

The torchlight parade is preceded by two action-packed events as crowds gather at the resort for the light show. The Night Riders' Rail Jam, which begins at 5:45 p.m., gives spectators thrills and spills on a custom-built rail. The Dash For Cash launches at 6:45 p.m. Competitors can enter the free event to run an obstacle course for the chance to win cash.

The annual Winter Carnival Weekend lures visitors to Whitefish for the craziness and skiing. Lodging is available at Whitefish Mountain Resort and in town.

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