By James R. Johnson • [email protected]
The MayPort Community Club is finalizing details, but a scaled-back WinterFest is set to begin Friday, Dec. 4 throughout Mayville-Portland.
All through December weekends, Willowwood Campground will become “Willowwood Winter Wonderland.” Businesses may rent one of 18 display lots inside the Wonderland. It’s also an opportunity for volunteer and nonprofit organizations to fund-raise. Those taking the gate each night keep 100% of the profit.
“The charge to drive through the Wonderland will be $5 per car and $10 per SUV or van and the profits go to the volunteer or nonprofit organization taking gate that night,” Meghan Hovde, chair of the WinterFest Committee, said. “The Wonderland will not only bring people here from outside our communities, but it will help local organizations struggling to fund-raise during this pandemic.”
The Wonderland starts from 5 to 9 p.m. the Saturday-Sunday weekend of Dec. 4-5, then will include Friday nights through the weekend of Dec. 27. Hovde says display lots are filling nicely, and the MayPort Food Pantry was first to sign up to take the gate one night.
Businesses who have signed up for a display spot include Four Seasons Lawn and Landscaping, Gate City Bank, Nelson Auto Body, 29 West Boutique and Valley Land Investments.
Chad Nelson, owner of Nelson Auto Body, has transported Santa Claus during past WinterFest Parades. He “lit up” at the thought of being part of Willowwood Wonderland.
“I like old vehicles so my plan for now is to decorate a 1940s pick-up truck with lights,” Hanson told the Tribune.
The display design is in the planning stages at Gate City Bank in Mayville.
“We’ve never done this before but we thought it would be cool, something different,” Ann Braaten, branch supervisor, told the Tribune. “We don’t have the specifics quite yet but we’ll definitely have lights.”
Mindy O’Connor, owner of 29 West Boutique, is pondering Christmas trees and presents for the display.
“WinterFest is one of our favorite events and this will be a good way to stay involved as much as we can,” O’Connor said.
As of Oct. 25, there are a dozen display spots available, and the weekends of Dec. 19-20 and Dec. 26-27 for gate. To request more information about participating, email [email protected]
Lights, fireworks, photos
The Parade of Lights starts festivities at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4. There are cash awards, $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third.
Fireworks will fire afterward from the Mayville Bowl, sponsored by First State Bank.
“Though some businesses may choose to be open Friday evening, the Shop Hop is not being organized by the WinterFest Committee this year due to concerns bout the ability to social-distance properly,” Hovde told the Tribune.
Keeping the spirit of WinterFest alive, O’Connor says, “Mask up and come on down!”
WinterFest will feature a Holiday Lights Decorating Contest for businesses and homes with cash awards similar to the Parade of Lights. Hovde says, “Business owners or community members looking to participate in the Holiday Lights contests may send their address to [email protected] and we will take the pictures.”
Updated information will be posted online at www.mayvilleportland.com/winterfest
“This year is proving to be a challenge for planning,” Hovde said. “We are doing our best to make sure we have