This weekend kicks off two consecutive weekends of fun in Willow, as the Willow Winter Carnival offers everything from kids games to outhouse races. Yes, outhouse races.

The fun kicks off Friday with the a fireworks display at 8 p.m., and continues through the weekend. On Saturday, there are kid's games, the Earl Norris sled dog race, the Frostbite 5K race and the outhouse races at 1 p.m., among other events that happen throughout the day at the Willow Community Center, located on Willow Lake. At the center, you'll find a craft and trade fair throughout the entire carnival, as well as warm food. This weekend, the Earl Norris continues on Sunday at 10 a.m.

Next weekend features events such as the MTA telephone toss, homesteaders events and a cribbage tournament. There is also a poker run for those on snowmobiles, and a "Worst Carhartt and Best Beard" competition next Sunday (Feb. 8).

The Willow Winter Carnival is sponsored by the Willow Area Community Organization as way to relieve the cabin fever that can set in during the peak of winter. Even if you don't participate in the carnival, the area is a great place to visit for winter recreation enthusiasts. Snowmachine trails sprout out in every direction, and there are excellent opportunities for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.

Pack up the family, dress warm and head to Willow this weekend or next weekend - celebrate winter in the Mat-Su Valley!