By Molly Priddy, 2-08-12
||Caption: The boys from Whistling Andy Distilling in Bigfork navigate a giant "bar" down the center of Sugar Hill in Martin City during the Cabin Fever Days' Barstool Races. - File photo by Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon
It’s winter in the Flathead, and spending your time cooped up can make your brain do some funny things.
For instance, have you caught yourself staring at a barstool, picturing a set of skis attached to its legs and calculated how much added weight it would take to make that baby really fly down the hill?
You’re not crazy – you may just have some cabin fever. And you’re in luck, as the 34th annual Cabin Fever Days weekend is scheduled for Feb. 10 through Feb. 12 in Badrock Canyon.
It’s a time to get outside and interact with the community again, but it’s also a way to support important resources in the Canyon. According to Stacey Schnebel, vice president of the nonprofit Trapline Association and co-owner of the Stonefly Lounge, proceeds from Cabin Fever Days benefit the Martin City fire department, the Canyon QRU, Head Start and the Canyon Kids Christmas Fund.
“We really truly do work on raising the bar every year, improving the events and improving the way we make money for those organizations,” Schnebel said.
The weekend draws visitors from all over the valley and beyond, largely due to the festive environment and a unique event lineup. One of the most popular attractions is in Martin City, as the bold and the brave steer their way to victory in the Barstool Ski Races.
Racers are split into three classes – steerable, non-steerable and show. They take their creations, which must include a barstool, down the hill, while crowds cheer along the sidelines.
“That’s a really fun spectator sport,” Schnebel said. “It’s silly.”
All of the money raised from the entry fees, which run $25 apiece, goes toward the benefitting organizations, she said. Entry forms and rules are available at the weekend’s website, www.cabinfeverdays.com.
Schnebel said the weekend also brings in cash through its $3 event buttons, T-shirt sales, a 50/50 drawing and a weeklong poker run beginning the Monday before the weekend events start.
There will also be a “jail,” in the form of a horse trailer. Once someone is thrown into jail at the insistence of another person, the inmate must pay a fee to get out. Patrons can buy a $5 “get out of jail” button beforehand if they think they may be popular targets for incarceration, Schnebel said.
For the second year, shuttles will be running throughout all the event locations, so visitors do not have to worry about the hassle of parking in over-crowded lots, she added.
A “sober chauffeur” service is also available, with taxis paid for by the Hungry Horse Liquor Store for those who have had “too much fun,” Schnebel said. The taxis will be in Martin City and can be reached at 406-755-3700.
There are a number of events during the weekend, Schnebel said, including a Mountain Man competition and an arm wrestling tournament sanctioned by the American Armsport Association.
In addition, take part in some snowshoe softball, turtle races, shuffleboard tournaments and plenty of food options, including vendors and special meals such as hog roasts or a crawfish boil.
There are family-specific events as well, such as the Head Start Kids’ Carnival on Saturday and kids’ pool tournaments and sled races.
Each night ends with live music. A full list of event times and places can be found at www.cabinfeverdays.com.
The weekend is also an opportunity for canyon businesses to bring in customers during the slow season, and Schnebel recommended staying in a hotel or motel to fully enjoy the weekend’s offerings.
“You can actually come out and spend the night and have lots of activities to do and have a really great time,” she said.
For more information, visit www.cabinfeverdays.com
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