Perfect time for the Peninsula Winter Games

Posted: Friday, January 28, 2011

"There's nothing to do. I'm bored."

Sound a little too familiar this time of year?

Guess what -- this weekend, you've got the perfect answer to combat cabin fever. It all starts today, as mushers begin checking in for the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race from noon to 5 p.m. at the Soldotna Sports Center. The race through the Caribou Hills officially gets under way from Kasilof Saturday at 11 a.m.

Then, the Peninsula Winter Games kick off this evening with the opening of the Native Youth Olympics competition at Kenai Middle School, at 8 p.m. The competition continues through the weekend, starting at 9 am. Saturday and Sunday.

There's a whole day of activities planned for Saturday at the Soldotna Sports Center, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by a fireworks display at 6:30 p.m. Activities include outdoor games and indoor crafts.

And if that's not enough, the annual eating contest (not affiliated with the Games), slated for Saturday at 3 p.m. at Rocky's Cafe in the Kasilof Mercantile, this year features hard-boiled eggs. Yum.

The Peninsula Winter Games were conceived more than 30 years ago as a way to provide our community -- our kids in particular -- with a day to be active during one of the darker and colder months of the year.

Since their inception, the Games have grown and morphed. They've included everything from snowshoe softball to sled dog racing to Monopoly to a championship dog weight pull. The ice carvings that have become a much anticipated part of the event can be seen in front of businesses throughout the community. Indeed, harvesting the ice for the competition has become an event in and of itself.

It's been great to see so many people out and about for the Games and the T-200 in the past, and we hope to see big crowds this weekend. And we encourage our community to take away more than just an enjoyable afternoon.

First and foremost, use the games as a springboard to being active and engaged all season. Getting out and about and interacting with other people are the best cures for cabin fever, and the Games showcase just a few of the venues available. Why not host your own board game night or take the kids sledding, skiing or ice skating? With a little creativity, snow sculptures could pop up all over the Peninsula. Finish off a winter afternoon by baking a special treat together -- what could be better?

We also hope our community realizes just how much work goes in to planning an event like the Peninsula Winter Games. An event like this doesn't happen without a lot of community support, from the volunteers who make it happen to the support from the business community that makes it possible. So if you're looking for ways to be engaged and meet new people during the winter months, why not find out how to get involved with the Games, the T-200 or one of the many other events that go on year round?

So get out, enjoy the weekend -- and then keep it the spirit of the Games alive throughout the season.

Nothing to do? We beg to differ.

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