BW made a run at McCall's Winter Carnival last weekend to see how the otherwise-relaxed mountain town had fared with tens of thousands of patrons—mostly from the Boise area—showing up on the scene.
The week-long event has grown considerably over the years and now includes something for virtually any recreational, sight-seeing or artistic appetite. We checked out the beer garden, bull riding, snow sculptures, and the first-ever Barley Brothers beer expo, featuring more than 100 beers from all over the Northwest. We also dropped in on a few local businesses to see what the carnival had done for them.
Two unexpected dynamos stole the show:
1. The Scott Pemberton Trio, who piqued the interest of the crowd at the beer garden early on Saturday and then electrified a packed house at the Forresters Club later that night.
2. The popularity of three of Idaho's newest breweries—Crooked Fence (opening officially next month), Payette, and Salmon River. Those three were certainly crowd favorites and had offerings that rivaled some of the biggest kids in town ... ahem, Stone, we love you, but these Idaho guys can hang.
Of the event, Portland-based Pemberton said that he had been looking forward to playing Idaho and loves to "feel the room when the crowd brings that much energy." His unbelievable talent on the git-box resulted in a crowd-wide banter between sets to the effect of "he's like Ween, meets Jimmy Hendrix, but completely original."
Nice job, McCall. We had a great time.
Check out video from the festivities below: