HELVETIA, W.Va. -- Mark your calendars: West Virginia's smaller, colder version of Mardi Gras is set for Feb. 9.
The traditional Swiss celebration of Fasnacht occurs every year in Helvetia to scare off Old Man Winter.
Festivities begin at 3 p.m. with an open mic in Star Band Hall. The Inter-Mountain (http://bit.ly/Y1ICbO) says the Helvetia Mask Museum and General Store will be open all day, and at 8:30 p.m. the Candlelight Parade fills the roads.
Participants and onlookers alike don masks of all shapes, sizes and styles for the parade and masked-ball square dance that follows.
Admission to the ball is $10 per adult and $5 for children 11-17.
Then the symbolic Old Man Winter is ripped from his spot above the dance fire and tossed into a bonfire.