The 34th Annual Peninsula Winter Games (PWG) are coming this Saturday, January 30th to the Soldotna Sports Center. A full day of family activities gets underway at 11:00am according to January Yaeger, project coordinator for the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce. "It's all about the kids! We'll have ice bowling again along with the return of the kick sleds for kids, snow machine rides, plus all the indoor activities like face painting, the Monopoly tournament, and something for everyone. Of course none this could happen if it wasn't for our major sponsor, ConocoPhillips," said Yeager. Since the Winter Games were first conceived by Sterling missionary Al York, they have been a broad-based community event designed to get families involved with traditional Alaskan activities.
Ten years ago, Soldotna Rotarian and then PWG board member, Jerry Near, introduced ice carving to the Games and since then it has grown to be a signature event. Last week, Soldotna Rotarians once again cut 60 some 8ft. x 4ft. blocks of ice from Marathon Lake, where they also sponsored a Polar Bear Jump to raise funds for Rotary International's efforts to eradicate polio from the world. A dozen jumpers this year took the plunge to prevent polio. Soldotna Rotary club president, Lisa Roberts, was a repeat jumper this year. "It's really quite invigorating and I'll do it again next year to help the Rotary effort to eliminate polio for the whole world," shivered Roberts. The ice blocks harvested from the lake will be carved into sculptures at participating businesses around town. According to Yeager, anyone wishing to win two round trip tickets to Anchorage on ERA Aviation can get their punch card stamped at each business and then be entered in a drawing to win. Punch cards are available at the businesses and at the Soldotna Visitors Center. You can also find a list of participating locations posted on the PWG website. Visit www.peninsulaclarion.com and look for the link on the left side of the home page.
For the last seven years the Native Youth Olympics and their unique events have been a popular part of the PWG activities. This year's NYO's will be held at Kenai Middle School starting at 9:00am Saturday and Sunday. Fireworks will start at 6:30pm with the best place for viewing at the Soldotna Sports Center. For more information on the Peninsula Winter Games, call the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce at 262-9814.
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