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LEAD | The dark, frigid days make it tough to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Black Hills, but there are still ways to get out and take advantage of the scenery.

Beat the winter blues at Winterfest 2018, Thursday through Saturday in Lead. This three-day snow bash celebrates all things winter and is jam-packed with events and activities for all ages.

“We really wanted a community-minded event where everybody could come together and enjoy the snow, hang out as a community and enjoy the beautiful place where we live,” said Emily Larson, marketing coordinator for the Lead Area Chamber of Commerce.

Patrons can take part in a variety of events both indoors and outdoors. The festival kicks off Thursday evening with a chamber mixer at the Christian Ministry Center. Parents can bring their kids to any of the kid-friendly events, and adults can partake in the adults-only events.

One new element for this year’s festivities is the Mountain Music Festival. Ten local artists will perform at various locations across Lead and feature a variety of music genres, from acoustics to soul to rock, and even reggae.

“We’ve got a little something for everybody,” Larson said.

Saturday is the biggest day, with events running from 9 a.m. to midnight. The day kicks off with a Snowmobile Poker Fun Run where participants can explore more than 300 miles of trail within Black Hills National Forest, making stops throughout to collect playing cards for a chance to win cash prizes for the best poker hand.

The health-conscious can take in an outdoor yoga session with Snow Yoga at 10 a.m. at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor’s Center and enjoy the fresh mountain air while improving their mental and physical health.

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The weekend wraps up Saturday evening with the popular Parade of Lights, followed by the fireworks display. Larson said it is the event that draws the biggest crowd, despite the cold weather.

“It’s one thing we are known for. Every year, at the end of the night on Saturday, the parade comes through and ends at the park and then we have an awesome fireworks display over the open cut, similar to our Fourth of July display,” she said.

The parade route departs from Lynn’s Dakotamart and makes its way through the streets of downtown Lead, ending at the Homestake Visitor’s Center where the fireworks display and community bonfire will take place immediately following the parade. Residents are encouraged to drop off their old Christmas trees in the parking lot of the Visitor’s Center where members of the Lead Volunteer Fire Department will light them on fire. Cocoa and s’mores will also be provided by the Visitor’s Center.

For more information on Winterfest, visit leadmethere.org or check out the Lead Area Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page.

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