Kick Off the Holidays with the Winter Stroll and West Yellowstone Classic Sled Dog Races in West Yellowstone Montana

West Yellowstone, MT, November 26, 2009 --( Start your Holidays right with a small town Winter festival featuring the "Parade of Lights" and annual tree lighting, downtown merchant stroll, and chance to meet Santa in a winter wonderland. Meet the mushers and sled dogs of the West Yellowstone Classic Sled Dog races on December 11th and 12th, 2009.

It's a time of rosy cheeks and laughter. Kick off the fun with the 6th Annual "Parade of Lights" on Thursday, December 10th. There will be plenty of festivities for the kids and a Poker Stroll for the big kids (21 & over). Businesses will compete for the best lighted vehicle or float in the parade. Join your friends and neighbors as we light the Town Tree, greet Santa, and stroll the shops seeking just the right gifts. The Parade starts at 6:00 PM.

This year’s special parade guests will be the mushers and sled dogs from the West Yellowstone December Classic race scheduled for December 11th & 12th. There will also be a "Meet the Mushers" session during the Stroll where everyone can visit with the mushers and see the dogs, a favorite for families and children. The mushers will be in front of Wild West Pizza, 14 Madison Avenue, from 6:30 -7:30 PM after the parade.

You don't need to go to Alaska to experience the thrill of the Iditarod. West Yellowstone is the place to be December 11 and 12, as the West Yellowstone Sled Dog races kick off their winter season with a series of exciting races.

The December Classic, as it is known, is the first race of the season in the western region, putting it at the top of the list on Sled Dog Central's race schedule for the Western USA. Last year there were 32 mushers who participated. The youngest musher was a 12-year old girl from Wyoming and the oldest was a 67-year old gentleman from Montana. The furthest distance traveled was a group from Michigan.

Charlotte Manning and Rodeo Vincent, of Klondike Dream Dog Sled Kennels, have been very busy coordinating the event, saying, "Volunteers are our biggest asset. They're what make occasions like this successful!" If you're interested in volunteering or becoming a host family please contact Charlotte at 646-4988 or Karrie at 646-5140.

Races will start and end at the “Old Airport” located off Iris Street on the western edge of West Yellowstone. Races each day will feature a 4-dog Junior (5 mile), 6-dog Novice (10 miles, 8-dog Pro (20 miles), and 12-dog Pro (30 miles). The 12-, 8-, and 6-dog teams will compete beginning at 9:00 AM; while the Junior races will begin at 1:00 PM. Come early to watch the teams get ready for racing.

Students enrolled in the Education First Travel Tours at the West Yellowstone School will be at the races selling hot cocoa, coffee and food to help raise funds for their trip to Germany in 2011. For more information, call the West Yellowstone Chamber at 406-646-7701 or go to

West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce
Jan Stoddard