Overview of Art Walk Whitefish Winter Carnival

For over half a century, the Whitefish Winter Carnival has been a February tradition in Whitefish, Montana. This celebration of winter includes a kiddie carnival, ski racing, ice sculpture, music, food, a skijoring competiton involving skiers being pulled by a horse, and a penguin plunge into Whitefish Lake, with plenty of hot chocolate and schnapps to keep you warm afterwards. On Saturday, the day concludes with the Winter Carnival Torchlight Parade, following by an evening of fireworks.

During the past 6 years, the ArtWalk has been part of that tradition. This outdoor walking tour of art features paintings, stained glass, photography, etchings, metalwork, pottery, jewelry, and other original fine arts, all produced by local artists. As part of the ArtWalk, the Toggery windows will be decorated by art students from the Whitefish High School.

Quirky Whitefish traditions abound throughout ArtWalk and the Carnival. As the story goes, the town of Whitefish unites each year to celebrate the snow god Ullr, who reigns over winter activities in the Nordic regions of the world, along with his queen and his prime minister. After many years of wandering, they came to rest on the Big Mountain which looms over Whitefish. However, the mountain turned out to be home to a band of fierce yetis, who tried to kidnap the queen. Fortunately, Ullr and his prime minister managed to save the queen and drive the yetis away.

When settlers came to Whitefish, Ullr aided them against the yetis who tried to drive them away. In celebration and gratitude, the small town of Whitefish started an annual festival to give homage to King Ullr. Even today, the yetis still try to steal the queen and interfere with the festivities. A yeti attack can happen at any moment, but Ullr and his faithful followers always successfully send them fleeing back to the valleys beyond Big Mountain.

ArtWalk will be on display during the Whitefish Winter Carnival on the first full weekend in February, as well as the following week. Maps are available from local merchants, or you can participate in a guided tour of the ArtWalk 5-6 pm and 7-8 pm on Saturday. A special guided tour will be held on opening night, starting at the Stumptown Art Studio at 5 pm, with a reception afterwards to meet the artists.

General admission to the Whitefish Winter Carnival and ArtWalk is free, although some events require a Winter Carnival Button at the cost of $3. A few activities, such as the pancake breakfast on Sunday, cost a few dollars extra. All funds raised go to charity, with proceeds from the ArtWalk going to the art scholarship program provided through Stumptown Art Studio. Most of the works on display during ArtWalk are also for sale, offering unique one-of-a-kind gifts you will find nowhere else.

ArtWalk and the Whitefish Winter Carnival can be found throughout the small town of Whitefish. The Parade follows Central Avenue, with a snow skate jam taking place at the end of the street. The Penguin Plunge can be found 1 mile away at City Beach on Whitefish Lake.

ArtWalk, Whitefish Winter Carnival
PO Box 1180, Whitefish MT, (406) 862-3501
ArtWalk via Stumptown Art Studio (406) 862-5929