What is Winter Carnival?
Winter Carnival is a story about community spirit, uniting people both young an old by giving them the opportunity to share in events and activities that are fun and exciting and enjoyable to all.
What is the legend of the Winter Carnival?
Believe it or not, long, long ago, the God of Starlight - Artraios took the Goddess of the Rosy Fingered Morn - Eos as his bride. They had four sons. One of the sons was named Boreas and he was the God of the North Winds. Boreas was known for setting up a winter playground for the entire world to see and enjoy.
How did the Pottsville Winter Carnival come about?
All of the Gods loved the winter playground except for one - Vulcanus. Vulcanus was the God of fire and an enemy to Boreas. One day Boreas was crowned King and there was a tremendous parade for all to see. On the day of the parade, King Boreas announces that at the most glorious of festivity, the grand ball, he would pick a queen and she will be the Queen of Snows.
During the mid 1960's, G. Earl Stevenson, a Pottsville City Councilman and Director of Parks and Public Property, went to St. Paul, Minnesota on business. While he was in St. Paul, he attended the St. Paul Winter Carnival. At that time, the St. Paul Winter Carnival was in existence for over 100 years. There, the Winter Carnival was held every year at the end of January and continued through the beginning of February hosting over 100 events for all to enjoy and participate. St. Paul Winter Carnival had a paid staff including a Public Relations Department, advertising and marketing Department, as well as numerous sales representatives.Facts about Greater Pottsville Winter Carnival:
Mr. Stevenson was so intrigued by this undertaking in St. Paul that when he returned to Pottsville he presented the idea to the Pottsville Recreation Commission. With his enthusiasm, he sparked an interest among other active citizens such as John D.W Reiley, Marie Murphy, Cye Wachter, William Dirnmerling and Robert Davis This core committee with their dedication and hard work built the foundation for what we know today as the Greater Pottsville Winter Carnival.
GPWC began in 1968.
The first queen pageant was held in the Henry Clay Room at the Necho Allen in Pottsville. 600 attended. And the first queen chosen was Louise Dudick Wachter.
1968, William Landy was chosen "King" by the Board of Directors of the Carnival Association. The main function of the King was to raise funds for the parade.
In 1968, the first parade was held and was based on the Rose Parade of Pasadena, CA. It was the largest parade Schuylkill County had ever seen to date. 25 bands, 25 elaborate floats and 25 princesses. Nearly 70,000 attended.
1968, Pottsville Winter Carnival was held for one week in January. Events for the week included:
1969, William Dimmerling was chosen "king" and in 1970, G. Earl Stevenson was selected as "King".
2. ski jumping competitions for adults
3. down hill skiing for school students
4. torch light ski parade
5. ice sculptures in Garfield Square
6. house decorating contests
7. dog sled racing - professional dog sled club from Lebanon came to Branchdale to perform
In 1969, the queen pageant was held in the Pottsville Area High School Auditorium because it was too large to be held in the Necho Allen.
1970, queen contestants were only allowed to participate in
the pageant if they were single.
1969/1970, first group of Vulcans were formed and they were only allowed to be men.
1970, name changed to the Greater Pottsville Winter Carnival Association.
1970, snowflake pageant began and was held in the Nativity BVM High School.
1971, the first Distinguished Citizen's Award was given. The Distinguished Citizen Award is given to an individual or group who gives of themselves generously and graciously to their community without any monetary reward
1971. a woman was allowed to be a vulcanette.
1975/1976, ski lodge closed. As a result, many of the snow activities were no longer able to take place.