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McCall Winter Carnival

McCall, ID 83638

History of the McCall Winter Carnival :
The first winter carnival in McCall was in 1924, a fun filled three days that started when the largest train ever to enter McCall arrived carrying 248 persons, including Idaho Governor C. Moore. The Payette lakes Sports Carnival, as it was then called, treated its guests to a large variety of events, dog sled racing; with driv­ers from all over the state, ski racing and jumping, ski joring (a skier pulled by a horse), snow shoveling contests and snowshoe races.

One of the favorites at the carnival was a ride on the Payette lakes taxi boats. The crafts, the forerunner of the modern snowmo­bile, were a vehicle set on steel runners and driven by an airplane engine and propeller.

The carnival as such lasted for about five years, it then evolved to an "ice break-up contest." The person entering the contest would buy a ticket, then guess at what day, hour and minute the ice would break-up in the lake, the person guessing the closest would win the prize. To determine the actual break-up time a barrel was placed on the ice in the middle of the lake, when the ice broke up and only when the barrel touched the bank was the time official. The last contest was in 1941 at which time "gambling" had become illegal.

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