Celebration offers activities for all ages

By Don Nelson

It’s beginning to look a little bit like Christmas, and Winthrop’s annual Christmas at the End of the Road celebration will once again cheerfully usher in the holiday season with the usual family-friendly festivities this weekend.

The action starts on Friday (Nov. 24) and concludes Saturday night (Nov. 25) with what might be the best annual fireworks show yet — certainly one of the most impressive displays to be found in any small town around the country.

It all kicks off on Friday afternoon when Granny Winthrop reads children’s holiday stories at the Trail’s End Bookstore from 2 – 4 p.m. At 5 p.m., Morning Glory Balloons will inflate and light a hot air balloon on Riverside Avenue in downtown Winthrop.

Saturday is a full day, which includes plenty of time for strolling the boardwalks and getting in some early shopping. Some stores will have extended business hours.

Get the blood flowing by taking part in the End of the Road 5-kilometer run, or the 1K kids’ fun run, starting at 10 a.m. at the Winthrop Rink. Cost is $5 for the 5K run or $1 for the kids’ run. Register ahead of time at Cascades Outdoor Store on Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Race day registration will be from 9 – 9:45 a.m. at the rink. Parking is available at the Town Trailhead lot.

Greet Santa as he arrives on Riverside Avenue by horse-drawn wagon at around noon. From 1 – 4 p.m., catch a round-trip ride on a horse-drawn wagon from downtown to the Winthrop Barn and back. At the Barn, the Children’s’ Winter Fest will feature visits with Santa (including free photos sponsored by Winthrop Kiwanis), and hot dogs, chips and drinks offered for purchase by the Winthrop Barn Association, from 1 – 4 p.m.

Want to join the holiday carolers? Meet at Winthrop Town Hall at 3 p.m.

At 5 p.m., the annual town lighting illuminates downtown with hundreds of white LED lights outlining downtown buildings.

Warm your hands at the “campfires” tended by the Methow Valley Snowmobile Association. The snowmobilers also provided the greenery decorating downtown businesses. And, you can participate in the “Where’s the Marshal” scavenger hunt at Winthrop Chamber of Commerce businesses and win prizes. The hunt is organized by Trail’s End Bookstore.

The fireworks start at 6 p.m. and will last 15 to 17 minutes, according to Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe owner Doug Mohre, who organizes the annual display. Mohre promises a “spectacular show” featuring more fireworks shells, and greater variety than in past years.

The show will be set up and set off by an experienced local crew, Mohre said.

Mohre and the town went through what he called a “complicated process” to stage the show independently rather than contracting with a fireworks company. “We jumped through a lot of proper hoops to put on our own display,” he said. That allows organizers to buy directly from wholesale distributors at a cost savings, Mohre said.

The main corporate sponsor this year is Winthrop Evergreen IGA, supplemented by many donations from the community, Mohre said. Donations will still be accepted at Sheri’s or other downtown businesses.

“It’s a huge community effort,” he said. “I can’t thank everybody enough.”

Mohre also repeated his annual admonition to pet owners: It’s best to leave your dogs at home because the canines can be startled or frightened by the noise and bright lights.

Christmas at the End of the Road schedule


• 2 – 4 p.m., storytelling with Granny Winthrop at Trail’s End Bookstore.

• 5 – 6 p.m., hot air balloon night glow by Morning Glory Balloons on Riverside Avenue.


• 10 a.m., End of the Road 5K run ($5) and 1K kids fun run ($1) starting and ending at the Winthrop Rink. Registration starts at 9 a.m.; pre-register on Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday at Cascades Outdoor Store.

• Noon, Santa arrives by horse-drawn wagon on Riverside Avenue.

• 1 – 4 p.m. Children’s Winter Fest at the Winthrop Barn, including free photos with Santa and food available for purchase. Free horse-drawn wagon rides between downtown and the Barn.

• 3 p.m., “campfires” tended on Riverside Avenue by the Methow Valley Snowmobile Association.

• 3 – 5 p.m. caroling downtown. Meet at Winthrop Town Hall.

• 5 p.m., town lighting ceremony.

• 6 p.m., fireworks show.