Leavenworth, Chelan welcome snowy days and open passes for their festivals

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With Stevens Pass reopened, Leavenworth is looking to get the town hopping again this weekend with fresh snow, just in time for its Bavarian Icefest.

There was a noticeable decline in visitors when U.S. 2 Stevens Pass was closed from Sunday afternoon until Thursday afternoon this week.

Getting to Leavenworth from the westside via Snoqualmie and Blewett passes also had challenges, with Snoqualmie Pass closed numerous times this week by heavy snow.

But fortunately, the timing of the mountain pass problems came mostly during the normally less-busy weekdays, said Jessica Stoller, Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce media director.

“I think it was a little quieter, for sure,” Stoller said. “There were people in town who chose not to go back over (to the westside). But I’m sure it affected some of the businesses.”

The Needling, a satirical website that calls itself “Seattle’s Only Real Fake News,” featured a story Friday with the headline “Single Xmas-Light Tumbleweed Rolls Down Abandoned Leavenworth Main Street.

Fake news aside, the snow they’ve received has been perfectly timed for Icefest, Stoller said.

“We needed snow … that’s a great thing,” she said.

Most Bavarian Icefest event are heavily reliant on snow and cold. The festival will include snow sculptures, ice carving, a snowball toss, ice fishing and snowshoe demo day, capped with a fireworks show Sunday at 6 p.m.

And, of course, the town’s famed Christmas lights will be up and shining (not on tumbleweeds) until Valentine’s Day.

Winterfest in Chelan also timed well

They’re also welcoming the snow and cold in Chelan, where they’ll be kicking off two-straight weekends of Lake Chelan Winterfest.

They’ll have horse-drawn carriages, ice sculptures, snow events, live music at the Ice Bar downtown, wine and ale tasting, beach bonfires and fireworks.

There’s also a comedy show at the Ruby Theatre tonight and Saturday night.