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Willow Winter Carnival

In late January and early February, the small town of Willow is the place to be for unique outdoor events that are quintessentially Alaskan. Where else are you going to find people racing outhouses?

The Willow Winter Carnival takes place the last weekend in January and the first weekend in February each year. It's a celebration of winter in Alaska, and many of the events take place on Willow Lake and the Willow Community Center nearby.

Willow is home to many Iditarod sled dog mushers, and as such, dog mushing is a big part of the carnival. The Earl Norris Memorial Sled Dog Race takes place both Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend, and a very popular race in Alaska. You can see the race from the lake, and meet the mushers before they depart on the trail.

Other events include the hilarious outhouse race, which is exactly what it sounds like - people design outhouses on sled runners, then there is a human-powered race to get them down the track the fastest.

After all the outdoor events, people warm up in the Willow Community Center, where local merchants sell their arts and crafts, as well as food items. Throughout the two weekends, there are special events including buffet dinners, raffles and more.

For information about the carnival, visit the Willow Area Community Organization's website here.