Kicking off with a pyrotechnic display, a royal coronation and a dance party at Squaw Valley on evening of Friday, Feb. 27, the North Lake Tahoe and Truckee Snow Festival, which began as SnowFest in the early 1980s, brings its annual 10-day celebration-cum-block party to the region.

Snow Festival is an all-ages, all-day and most of the night tribute to winter. The usual suspects - Alpine Meadows, Diamond Peak, Homewood, Northstar, Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl and the communities of Truckee, Tahoe City Kings Beach, and Incline Village - are involved in hosting the events.

Along with all the events that typify Snow Festival -- the Garwoods Polar Bear swim, the Tahoe City parade, the Great Ski Race, the Dress Your Dog contest and the River Ranch snow sculpture contest -- there are several newcomers on this year's schedule

Check out screenings from SF Indie Film Festival offerings at Sugar Bowl Feb. 27-28; have your kids enter a drawing/coloring contest at the Fat Cat Cafe in Tahoe City Feb. 28, and then hang around for the DJ Street Dance Party at Lakeside Pizza; take in the Snowball Softball tournament in Tahoe City March 1; watch the area's best publicans mix it up at the Fastest Bartender Contest at the Tourist Club in Truckee March 2; participate in a variety on indoor games at the Noche Loca event at Blue Agave in Tahoe City March 5; see who well you can navigate around the Tahoe Cross-Country Center in the Geo-Snow Quest Adventure March 6, or break out your wetsuit for the Ta-Hoe Nalu Arctic Standup Paddleboard Race in Tahoe Vista March 7.

A complete listing of events is available online.