Winterfest brings 10 days of fun and activities for all ages to Wisp Ski Resort in McHenry. Selected as the Maryland Winter Event of the Season by the state's Office of Tourism Development, Winterfest opens on Friday and runs through March 3.
The Winterfest Queen will be crowned at a kickoff party Friday evening, beginning at 7:30 at the Will o' the Wisp. One of the highlights of the event is the two-day Governor's Cup Slalom from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The race attracts some of the mid-Atlantic's finest amateur competitors. An awards ceremony will be held Sunday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Other events on Saturday are Ski for Heart, a fund-raiser for the American Heart Association, a winter golf tournament and a chili cook-off. On Sunday, regional artists BTC will compete in a snow sculpturing contest.
Three evenings of challenging and fun events for school-age children are planned Tuesday to Thursday. The Telemark Race will take place on Friday at 1 p.m., and that evening at 6. Scholastic Races provide competition for regional junior and senior high school students. Saturday is a big day with the Mid-Atlantic Snowboard Series Championship scheduled at 10 a.m.; the Winterfest Winter Triathlon and McDonald's Pee Wee Championships and Fun Run for children under the age of 10, both at 11 a.m.; some fun races in the afternoon; and the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. On the final day there are more fun races and competitions concluding with the Streamer Parade. A tradition for more than 15 years, this grand parade features skiers in costume with streamers in hand following Yakapah Garbola, the festival mascot, down the slopes as judges decide who's best.
There are entry fees for participants, but there is no admission to Winterfest events. For information, call (301) 387-4911.
George Washington's birthday continues to be cause for celebrating this week. Washington was born at Popes Creek in Westmoreland County on Virginia's Northern Neck. The original home was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day in 1779. In 1930-'31 a Memorial House was erected at the site, which is known as the Washington Birthplace National Monument. The site of the original house has been outlined in oyster shells to give an idea of its size. Beside the Memorial House the historic area consists of outbuildings such as a kitchen, spinning room and Colonial workshop, where you can see woodwork and blacksmith demonstrations. The farm area is stocked with farm animals of the period. The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $1 for ages 17 to 61.
George Washington's birthday will be observed there tomorrow with an all-day celebration. Hours will be extended to 7 p.m. Admission is free.
A number of activities will take place in the historic area. Park staff and volunteers will perform seasonal tasks from candle-dipping to spinning to blacksmithing. A living history group from Richmond will portray ladies and gentlemen from Washington's youth. Visitors can see the preparation of a multicourse Colonial feast and an ox-driving demonstration in the farm area. Music will be performed on a spinet in the Memorial House during afternoon hours, and gingerbread and cider will be served at the park's log house, which is normally closed to the public. Youngsters can attend a half-hour marionette show which chronicles Washington's childhood. As dusk falls the historic area will be lighted by candles and lanterns.
The birthplace is off Route 3, 38 miles from Fredericksburg. Call (804) 224-1732.
Several events are also planned in Fredericksburg, Va., where Washington spent his youth. His boyhood home, Ferry Farm, will host an open house today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. At 2 p.m. there will be an address by Army Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, vice chief of staff, on Operation Desert Storm. Preceding the talk there will be music by two fife and drum corps and a military demonstration. Gates will open at 12:30 p.m. and free shuttle service will operate between the Fredericksburg Visitor Center and Ferry Farm. Admission is free.
Tomorrow seven major historic attractions in Fredericksburg will offer half-price admission. They include the Mary Washington House, the home of Washington's mother; Rising Sun Tavern, built in 1760 by Washington's brother Charles; Kenmore Plantation, home of Washington's sister; the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, where the Washington family bought medicines; Belmont, home of artist Gari Melchers; the James Monroe Museum; and the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center.
On Washington's actual birthday (Feb. 22) the Martha Washington House will host a birthday party. Costumed hostesses will conduct tours of the house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and spiced tea and cake will be served. Admission is $3 for adults, 75 cents for students. For information, call (703) 373-1776.