Get out and enjoy the winter

This weekend and next, get out and enjoy the fun the Kenai Peninsula has to offer.

This weekend, it’s the Peninsula Winter Games, an event founded more than 30 years ago with the goal of getting everyone, kids especially, active. Festivities kick off at noon Saturday at the Soldotna Sports Center, with indoor and outdoor carnival activities, and culminate with a fireworks display at 5:30 p.m. There’s also the Native Youth Olympics at Soldotna High School, which start this evening and run through Sunday, as does a youth hockey tournament at the sports center. Find a list of activities at www.soldotnachamber.com.

Next weekend, it’s the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race, which starts in Kasilof and heads to Homer and back via the Caribou Hills. There’s a vet check where fans can meet the mushers Feb. 1 from noon to 5 p.m. at the sports center. The official start is 11 a.m. Feb. 2 at Mile 112 of the Sterling Highway in Kasilof, and, depending on trail conditions, the fastest competitors will likely cross the finish line Sunday afternoon or evening.

We’re glad to see that both events continue to draw interest. While the winter games and the T200 are longtime fixtures on the Peninsula calendar, both have had to adapt with the times. For example, last year, the T200 was forced to scale back — but that effort laid the groundwork for a bigger, better race this year.

Likewise, some of the events that used to be associated with the Peninsula Winter Games are no longer on the schedule. But then again, some of the events, like the annual kids’ Monopoly tournament, are still going strong, and there’s some recent additions, such as the Native Youth Olympics, that continue to grow in popularity.

We applaud all those who have stepped in to volunteer, organize, sponsor, support and participate in these events. In this day and age, there are a seemingly endless number of things demanding our attention. Devoting some of that energy to making sure these community events continue into the future is well worth the effort.

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