Each March, just as high-season crowds start to dwindle, North Lake Tahoe throws a 10-day, family-friendly party called SnowFest. It's the favorite winter week of the year for many locals, and chock-full of activities ranging from the tame (pancake breakfasts, snow-queen pageant) to the just plain wacky. (Human bowling, anyone?)
"Family-friendly" includes Fido of course, and this year's 30th annual fest, which kicked off last weekend and continues through Sunday, features many events that you and your pooch can enjoy together.
On Saturday, Kings Beach is the place to be for an 11:30 a.m. parade followed by a Dress Up Your Dog Contest sure to keep you in stitches. If your tastes run a little more to the, er, extreme, head over to the Village at Squaw Valley, where a SnowFest Decompression Party starts at noon and continues to the wee hours. The free outdoor event features Purgatory Cruiser, which bills itself as a "flame-throwing, space-pod moon-rover of doom." (We think that translates to "loud.") You won't know until you get there how your dog will respond to fire dancers and down beatz, but it might be worth showing up around 9 p.m. for the first ever "snowman burn" featuring a 25-foot "man" going up in flames. Or not.
On Sunday, hope for sunny skies and take your pick of winter entertainment. On tap are the Quicksilver Ta-Hoe-Nalu Stand Up Arctic Paddle Race in Tahoe City; a snowman building contest at the Kings Beach Library; and a snow sculpture contest at River Ranch on Highway 89. More offbeat, if a little out of the way, is the Tahoe Donner Association's Ididarun, a Donner-Party themed (hmmm) dog-pull race in which canine competitors pull sleds gussied up to look like covered wagons. The event benefits the Lake Tahoe Humane Society, and there will absolutely be no flame-throwing allowed.