Winterfest takes place today in Edwards | VailDaily.com

Winterfest takes place today in Edwards

Veronica Whitney

If you didn’t get your helmet autographed by Austrian skier Hermann Maier, you might still be on time to get his and other World Cup skiers’ names on your Christmas tree.

The first annual Winterfest at Riverwalk today and Sunday will feature a Festival of Trees that will benefit local charities. Fifteen nonprofit organizations in the valley will decorate and exhibit Christmas trees.

The Vail Valley Foundation, for example, will set up a “skier tree” with the flags different countries signed by the world’s top ski racers who participated in the Birds of Prey World Cup downhill and super-G last weekend. There will also be a tree decorated by 3-year-olds from Prater Lane Preschool. The tree will be decorated with candies and little ornaments that the children made by hand.

The trees will be available through a silent auction that starts today at 11 a.m.

“We want people to come down and enjoy the day-long festivities,”

said Colleen McCarthy, of Baggage Cheque, a store in Riverwalk. This has been a team effort with 50 percent of the merchants helping to organize the event.”

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The festival was spearheaded by Jean Anderson of Artelana.

The Winterfest also will include free pictures with Santa, carriage rides, the Holiday Spirit party and carolers and choirs, including Dickens’ Carolers from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Helmut Fricker will perform from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, and Kids Chorale follows from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Free refreshments will be served all day and street vendors will be selling roasted nuts.

“The idea was to provide a festive environment to get the community excited about Christmas,” McCarthy said. “People can also enjoy a variety of shops and a lower sales tax rate – 4.4 percent instead of 8.9 percent in Vail and more than 9 percent in Beaver Creek.”

All kids will receive a candy cane from Santa, free of sales tax.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.