MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — New Orleans has Mardi Gras. Deep in the mountains of West Virginia, the descendants of Swiss and German immigrants have Fasnacht (FOSS-knocked).
It's smaller by thousands and colder by 40 degrees, but it's also a last hurrah before Lent.
On Saturday, hundreds will trek to the small town of Helvetia.
They'll don papier-mâché masks for a candlelight parade. They'll dine on sausage, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, and dance to Appalachian music at a masked ball.
At midnight, they'll toss Old Man Winter's effigy into a bonfire to chase away winter.
Longtime resident Debbie Sayre says it often backfires: It's not unusual for it be 50 degrees Saturday then snow Sunday.
This weekend's forecast calls for rain and snow Friday night, but colder, drier conditions Saturday.