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A wide-ranging blog on new businesses, events and other happennings in the Flathead Valley.
Life in the Flathead Valley - Kalispell, MTLife in the Flathead Valley - Kalispell, MT
Whitefish Crowns Winter Carnival King and Queen
Whitefish Winter Carnival
Richard Atkinson and Carol Atkinson. - photos courtesy of Whitefish Winter Carnival
Whitefish Winter Carnival is picking up speed in its fun and funny ways, and the revelers have crowned their King Ullr and the Queen of the Snows for this year's festivities.

(If you need a primer on what I'm talking about, read this article on last year's carnival.)

Richard and Carol Atkinson were crowned as this year's king and queen of the carnival. Here's a little more about the Whitefish royalty.

King Ullr

Born in Middletown, CT, Rich graduated from College High School in Montclair, NJ. He attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and flunked out after his first semester of his junior year. Rich joined the U.S. Army and graduated from the Army Language School in Monterey, CA. He served as an Intercept Operator in Bad Aibling, Germany. After completing his military service, he graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO. Married, he and the family (sons Douglas and Michael) moved to Bowie, MD where his daughter Sharon was born. He worked at nearby NSA as a cryptologic mathematician and cryptanalyst from 1963-1981. There he met his current wife Carol and they now have 11 grandchildren and 1 great-granddaughter.

In 1979 he and his brother started the highly successful, upscale travel publication, Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report. In 1981 they added The Harper Collection. That same year, tired of government service, he and Carol devoted full time to nurturing and expanding the publications while traveling the world. In 1985 they discovered Whitefish, MT, purchased a home and moved there in 1986.
Rich has been involved in several fundraising projects in Whitefish, starting with the outdoor Ice Rink in 1988 and ending with the completion of a $5.2M Performing Arts Center in the Whitefish Middle School in 2011. He served on the Glacier National Park Fund Board and the Beacon Advisory Board. He also started the girls' soccer program at Whitefish High School and coached in 1992 and 1993. His first real introduction to Winter Carnival was 2007 when he and Carol were the Grand Marshalls of the Winter Carnival Parade after receiving the Great Whitefish Award in 2006.

Queen of the Snows

Born in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, Carol graduated from Penn State University with a BA in Liberal Arts and from the University of Maryland with a Masters in Educational Technology. She spent close to twenty years at the National Security Agency as an Education and Training Officer and Cryptanalyst. Her second career took her all over the world as a writer and copy editor for Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report. She and her husband Richard moved to Whitefish in 1986.

With over twenty years of fundraising and philanthropic endeavors in this community, Carol is honored to take on the title of Queen of the Snows. Her fundraising efforts have included both ice rinks, the WAVE and the Whitefish Middle School Auditorium Project. Previous Board appointments have been to the Flathead Festival, Glacier Symphony and Chorale, Glacier National Park Fund and Flathead Beacon Advisory Board.

Currently, Carol serves as the President of the Whitefish Community Foundation and she chaired the Grants Committee for five years. She is the founder of the Whitefish Arts Council and volunteers for the Whitefish Theatre Company and Tamarack Grief Resource Center Summer Camps. In addition, Carol has served as a fundraising consultant for Glacier Symphony and Chorale, Tamarack Grief Resource Center, Shepherd's Hand Clinic, Alpine Theatre Project, Whitefish High School Campus Redevelopment Project and the Anaconda Community Foundation. Carol and Richard were given the Great Whitefish Award in 2006 and served as Grand Marshalls of the Winter Carnival Parade in 2007.

By the way, this year's theme is "Fiesta Pescado Blanco." For more information on upcoming events, check out the website.
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