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Our View: Winterfest celebrates season, those who come for it

February 9, 2019

The downtown street scene turns electric tomorrow as the annual Winterfest takes over upper McCulloch Boulevard.

The 34th annual festival is a celebration of winter’s glory in the desert, highlighted by a couple hundred vendors, double that many booths and an upbeat atmosphere paced by music, demonstrations and food.

The Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce, which stages the event each year, expects more than 35,000 to drop by. It’s a big event that is still but a slice of the winter scene in the desert.

Winterfest is mean to celebrate this time of year, a time when the city population swells and thousands of other visitors come for a day, a week or a month or longer. It’s a cool time of year that encourages activities of all kinds. Cool? Well, it at times is still literally a hundred degrees warmer than where the visitors and part-year residents live most of the year.

These visitors make the community more interesting through their presence and their voices. They add dimension and depth to the culture. And they certainly add a lot to the economy. The latter point is why so many vendors return to the Winterfest event year after year.

Winter visitors are taken for granted, but if they weren’t around, the city would be literally poorer for it. Facilities such as parks and recreation areas would be smaller. Medical providers would be fewer and the hospital much smaller. Restaurants? Well, there just wouldn’t be as many if the city population never swelled past summer minimums.

Visitors get a bad rap sometimes because they add to traffic or wait times for a restaurant table or a medical appointment. Yet even at the height of winter, traffic and crowds are nothing compared to the snarl of life in nearby large cities.

Winterfest celebrates the season but it also celebrates the visitors who add to the richness of life in Lake Havasu City. The event runs from 9 a.m. tomorrow and again on Sunday.

The hordes of people will amaze. The number of booths will astound. And year-round residents will clearly understand that it’s not summer. To those many visitors, we say welcome.

— Today’s News-Herald

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