By Sarah Schrock

New snowfall illuminated by a full moon for three whole nights this weekend set a magical tone for all the holiday hoopla and merriment that ensued. Thanks to the Twisp Valley Grange members for a festive start with Santa Claus and the pancake breakfast at the Grange. That was followed by the Senior Center Christmas sale, Holiday Bazaar at the Community Center, Christmas tree hunting, evening gatherings, ice skating and a Seahawks game — there was something for everyone to get into the spirit.

It was hard not to notice the moon rise early on the eastern horizon Sunday evening just past sunset, unless of course you were watching the Seahawks game. It appeared like a huge butterball floating overhead.

But it was the glow on Saturday night that struck me. As we drove home from the Methow Arts’ Atomic Bombshell burlesque show in Winthrop Saturday night — which was also featured an array of full moons of a different sort — it was almost as light as day. I am pretty sure it even over-powered the ice rink lights.

As the frozen air sinks in the night sky, the lights from ice rink create a mysterious glow that, from a distance, could double as beacon for an alien spaceship. You know how in every alien encounter movie there’s a glowing orb in the middle of the woods that takes off into space? That’s what the ice rink looks like from a distance as you

Photo courtesy of Sarah Schrock
Moonrise last weekend cast an illuminating glow over the valley.

drive through Winthrop on a winter night. But, skating in the evening under the lights at the rink during a snowstorm is a magical experience as the flakes swirls and dance from above.

The ice rink is fully open now after some mechanical issue with the refrigeration system last week, and Sunday it was packed. Check out their website for hours of operation and events: winthropicerink.org. Hockey programs for kids and adults will be in full swing this week and the rink is increasingly hosting tournaments — a fun spectator event to kill a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday.

Don’t miss Gear Up for the Holidays and Mistletoe Madness this Thursday (Dec. 7) in Twisp. Horse-drawn carriage rides down Glover Street, lighting of the town tree, music, food and of course shopping for the holidays are all on the schedule. The event runs from 4 to 7 p.m. at TwispWorks, and local businesses will be open late with plenty of goodies to share and sample. The Hank’s Harvest Food’s deli was a hit last year, and The Loup Loup Ski Shop always has great cookies to pass out.

The Loup Loup Ski Bowl will open Dec. 15, snowpack allowing. If you stopped by their booth at the Christmas Bazaar this weekend, you might have gotten a sneak preview of the Loup’s new winter sport offerings — including wooden luge sledding and new fat bike rentals and trails. The luge trail will be a cat-assisted haul up to the top of Bear Mountain where sledders will be dropped off to cruise a 3-kilometer course downhill on wooden track sleds. Grooming for fat bikes will also take place atop Bear Mountain.

Winter solstice falls on Dec. 21 this year. Between now and then, there’s the annual Cascadia Holiday Concerts on Dec. 12 and 13 at the Community Center, and “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” will open Friday (Dec. 8) at The Merc Playhouse and run through Dec. 17.

PREVIOUSLY, IN TWISP

Email Sarah