Whitefish Winter Carnival Royalty - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Whitefish Winter Carnival Royalty

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WHITEFISH -

It's a tradition that's more than fifty years old.

The Whitefish Winter Carnival is already underway.

Almost a month of work has led up to this weekend of parades, booths, and fireworks.

For nine years, royalty has graced the same float, down the streets of Whitefish, during the parade in the winter carnival. It maxes out around four miles per hour.

"Everybody's kids have grown up with it and it's one of those special things about Whitefish that makes you just love it here so much," said Miriam Lewis, the Duchess of Lark during the festivities.

Throughout the year, float goats take care of the float. They tow it, and they're even going to be driving it on Saturday.

"Having grown up here, you see the royal court come through every year, and to be asked to step up as the Prime Minister is really a huge honor," John Peschel, the chosen Prime Minister.

The royal court really has their work cut out for them. They're not just figure heads. They're picked by the former court and some of the current court's members once they're chosen. It's up to them to make sure the events run smoothly. Of course, they have more than 100 volunteers to help them pull it off, but Peschel says he's all but quit his first job to take care of the carnival this past week.

"This week we go around to all the schools and visit all the kids. We go to retirement homes. We go to the vet's home and just kind of check in with the community. Get them excited about the winter carnival," said Peschel.

Lewis estimates more than 8,000 people will come out for the fun this weekend. She thinks about half of these people are coming from outside Whitefish.

"The hotels are booked up. It brings revenue into the bars, restaurants, and shops," said Lewis.

Each year, the court members agree it seems to get bigger and bigger, but there are still small moments with family that make it intimate.

"I'm very excited about tomorrow night, skiing in the torchlight parade with my son," said Peschel.

One annual tradition at the winter carnival, the beer barter, is not going to look like it has in other years.

We'll tell you about the changes on the Fox Montana News @ Nine.

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