SnowFest! memories: Remember when … 1995 | SierraSun.com

SnowFest! memories: Remember when … 1995

Sun staff report
Submitted to kmacmillan@sierrasun.comKari Michael in this 1995 photo after being crowned SnowFest! queen, along with her father, Mike Thomas.
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TAHOE CITY and#8212; The Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza are still seeking community submissions to be included in this yearand#8217;s commemorative 30th anniversary SnowFest! special section.

SnowFest! is a 10-day celebration of the High Sierra lifestyle that takes place during the first week of March in North Lake Tahoe/Truckee.

The festival consists of about 60 events including a torchlight parade, fireworks and laser show, two street parades and other activities such as snow sculpting, human bowling, a luau, Mardi Gras party, a dog pull, ski races and a polar bear swim.

The 2011 version will be the 30th annual edition, taking place March 4-13, 2011. The Sierra Sun and Bonanza, in partnership with SnowFest!, has been compiling information for a commemorative special edition to publish prior to the event.

In the true essence of this being a community project, SnowFest! and the Sun and Bonanza are looking for community submissions to fill the anniversary editionand#8217;s many pages.

Whether itand#8217;s a photo from 1997 or a memory about one of SnowFest!and#8217;s early and#8212; and short-lived and#8212; events like Mr. Lake Tahoe, locals are encouraged to submit photos, stories, testimonials and other commemorative materials via e-mail to Managing Editor Kevin MacMillan at kmacmillan@sierrasun.com, in person at the Sunand#8217;s offices in Truckee (12315 Deerfield Drive) or Tahoe City (3090 North Lake Blvd.), in person at the Bonanzaand#8217;s office at 925 Tahoe Blvd. in Incline Village or in person at the SnowFest! offices at 531 North Lake Blvd. in Tahoe City.

As an example, Incline resident Kari Michael (nee Thomas) submitted this story and photo about her 1995 win as SnowFest! queen. It will be one of the many memories and testimonials to be included in the commemorative edition.

As a 33 year old who grew up here, I have many SnowFest! memories. As a child it meant being in the parade with my Brownie troop, eating pancakes, and looking for dressed up dogs. As I grew older, it was always perfect if the dates of SnowFest! coincided with our ski-skate week off from school. I have skied in the Great Ski Race many times, but always watch the Polar Bears from the sideline. I remember helping my momand#8217;s students from Kings Beach Elementary School march in the first Kings Beach parades.

As a senior in high school, I was serving my second year as student representative for the North Tahoe Recreation and Parks Commission when I ran for Snowfest! Queen to raise money for the organization. 16 of us ran that year, raising nearly $10,000 for local non-profits. My poster and photo decorated the town, and a banner hung on the North Tahoe Conference Center with my name on it. And then, to my disbelief, I was crowned SnowFest! Queen 1995.

A favorite queen memory was having my on-duty Placer County Sheriffand#8217;s Deputy father with me at the start of the parade. I also skied the Great Race that year with my high school team. We wore our bathing suits on top of our racing suits and I put my queen sash on once we got to the Cottonwood. I also enjoyed spending time with the Special Olympics athletes at Northstar, and SnowFest! Executive Director Judy Friedman quickly became one of my favorite people of all time.

Oddly enough, my most memorable experience took place that summer when I was fortunate enough to be the first ever SnowFest! Queen to represent Lake Tahoe in the Miss California State scholarship competition. I was a small town girl more comfortable in Birkenstocks or snow boots than high heels, but it turned out to be an amazing experience.

My two children are now making their own SnowFest! memories. Instead of my Brownie troop, I dance through the parade with the Jazzercise ladies, pushing my son in the stroller before he turned one, and again last year when I was 8 months pregnant with his sister.

I love SnowFest! because it crosses state and county lines to bring people together across the North Shore and Truckee, while providing life long memories to the children of our communities. I am proud that my children can be part of the next generation of SnowFest!.

and#8212; Kari (Thomas) Michael, Incline High School teacher and North Tahoe High School alumni.