We have more to look forward to come wintertime than snuggling in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. Cities big and small, urban and rural across the country host incredible festivals in celebration of all things winter. Some such festivities last just a weekend while others last over a week, and all of them promise family fun with events like fireworks and parades. There's plenty of adult fun to be had as well with wine walks and live music.
1. Saranac Lake Winter Carnival - Saranac Lake, NY
When: February 5-14, 2016
Where: Various locations throughout Saranac Lake
This winter carnival started as a way to break winter's chill and to promote outdoor sports and games. In 1897, the Pontiac Club sponsored a one-day fancy dress winter carnival. It has since grown into a 10-day festival that includes sports, performances, two parades and three sets of spectacular fireworks. Named the second best winter carnival in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine in 2012, the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is the longest-running event of its kind in the eastern U.S.
Thursday 4th -- 17th Annual Past Royalty Mixer and Dinner 5:30 pm
Friday 5th -- Women's Civic Chamber Coronation of Winter Carnival Royalty 7:30 pm
Saturday 6th -- Ice Palace Fun Run 10:00 am
Sunday 7th -- Mayor's Snowball Toss Tournament Challenge 12:15 pm
Thursday 11th -- Torchlight Skiing and Fireworks 6:00 pm
Friday 12th -- Rotary Club Variety Show 7:30 pm
Saturday 13th -- Gala Parade 1:00 pm
Sunday 14th -- Storming the Palace" Closing Fireworks Display 8:00 pm
2. Fur Rondy - Anchorage, AK
When: February 26-March 6, 2016
Where: Various locations throughout Anchorage
The streets of Anchorage come alive during Alaska's biggest winter festival. This 80 year tradition, also known as Fur Rendezvous, proudly represents the pioneering spirit of Alaska. In addition to more than 20 official cultural and sporting activities, the Anchorage community hosts nearly 50 Rondy Round Town events for all ages.
Friday, February 26th -- Jim Beam Jam 9:00 pm
Saturday, February 27th -- AT&T Fireworks Extravaganza 6:45 pm
Saturday, March 5th -- Alaska Hold'em Tournament of Champions 4:00 pm
Sunday, March 6th -- Great Alaska Talent Competition 6:30 pm
3. ULLR Fest - Breckenridge, CO
When: January 13-16, 2016
Where: Various locations throughout Breckenridge
In Norse mythology, Ullr (pronounced Oool-er) was the God of Winter. The Ullr Fest in Breckinridge is a week-long celebration that has been taking place for over 50 years. This annual festival includes quirky events like a talent show and comedy night and ends with the Ullr Parade down Main Street in Breckenridge. Be prepared to see horned Viking hats on the heads of skiers and snowboarders, Ullympic competitors flinging frying pans for prizes, and crazy float participants skiing off jumps on Main Street during the parade.
Wednesday, January 13th – Talent Show/ Crowning of Ullr King and Queen 6:00 pm
Tuesday, January 14th – Ullr Parade & Bonfire 4:30 pm
Friday, January 15th – Comedy Night 7:00 pm
Saturday, January 16th – Ice skating and Ullympics 1:00-3:00 pm
4. Newport Winter Festival - Newport, RI
When: February 12-21, 2016
Where: Various locations throughout Newport
The Annual Newport Winter Festival is ten days of non-stop music, food and fun. It's touted as "New England's Largest Winter Extravaganza," and was also listed on Fodor's Top 15 Best Small-Town Festivals in America. The schedule features over 150 different events combining food, festivities, music and fun for all ages.
5. Wintersköl - Aspen, CO
When: January 14-17, 2016
Where: Various locations throughout Aspen
The official slogan for the 65th Annual Wintersköl Celebration this year is “Aged To Perfection." This “toast to winter,” dates back to 1951, when local Aspenites decided to celebrate Aspen’s unique Nordic lifestyle with an eclectic weekend of festivities. The four-day celebration features on-mountain activities, a parade, a canine fashion show, live music, fireworks and more.
Thursday, January 14th -- Mad Hatter's Ball 7:30-10:00 pm
Friday, January 15th -- “Soupsköl™,” Aspen's 13th Annual Soup Cook-Off 4:00-6:00 pm
Saturday, January 16th -- WinterFest 12:00-3:00 pm
Sunday, January 17th -- Broomball Tournament 11:00 am-3:30 pm
6. Winter Park Winter Carnival - Winter Park, CO
When: February 6-14, 2016
Where: Various locations throughout Winter Park
This week of winter fun includes a Mardi Gras celebration, live music, and the Cupid's Revenge snowshoe race. Cupid's Revenge is a 4-mile loop and promises fun for the entire family! Even better, all proceeds benefit the Grand Foundation, improving the quality of life in Grand County in the areas of Health & Human Services, Arts & Culture, Education, Amateur Sports and Environment.
7. North Lake Tahoe SnowFest - North Lake Tahoe, CA
When: March 4-13, 2016
Where: Various locations throughout Lake Tahoe
Every spring since 1982, North Lake Tahoe has come alive with 10 fun-filled days and nights, jam packed with events and activities for all ages. Enjoy on-snow events at resorts around Lake Tahoe and participate in special events like parades, races, parties, and concerts. When it started, SnowFest's mission was to promote Tahoe’s incredible weather and skiing early in March, to encourage tourism to the area at a traditionally off-season time of the year, and to provide an opportunity for the locals to get out and enjoy Tahoe at its winter’s finest. It has become so successful that it was named one of the Top 100 Events in the United States by the American Business Association as well as the Top 10 Events in California by the California Department of Tourism.
Thursday, February 26th -- SnowFest Kickoff Party 5:30 pm
Friday, February 27th -- On-Mountain Torchlight Parade and Fireworks 6:30 pm
Saturday, February 28th -- Tahoe City SnowFest! Parade 11:30 am
Sunday, March 1st -- Sunnyside's Annual Luau 4:00 pm
Saturday, March 7th -- Snow What? Snow Building Contest
Sunday, March 8th -- Tahoe Donner Ididarun
8. Saint Paul Winter Carnival - Saint Paul, MN
When: January 28-February 7, 2016
Where: Rice Park - 109 4th Street W, Saint Paul, MN
The Saint Paul Winter Carnival, known as the "Coolest Celebration on Earth," attracts over 250,000 visitors a year and has an approximately $3.5 – $5 million dollar economic impact to the city of St. Paul and the State of Minnesota. Its mission is to foster a sense of community, pride, belonging and connectedness by celebrating Saint Paul’s unique history and emerging heritage through fun and educational experiences. Enjoy live entertainment, ice sculptures and even sit in a Royal Throne made completely out of ice!
9. Oregon WinterFest - Bend, OR
When: February 12-14, 2016
Where: Old Mill District - 344 SW Shevlin Hixon Ave Bend, OR 97702
This is not only a party in the snow because Oregon WinterFest proudly supports local charities. Since 2005, Oregon WinterFest has awarded more than $70,000 to local charities in support of the vital services they provide to the community. The beneficiary for 2016 is Saving Grace, which provides comprehensive family violence and sexual assault services and promotes the value of living life free from violence.
Friday, February 12th 5:00-11:00 pm -- Whole Foods Market Wine Walk 5:00-9:00 pm
Saturday, February 13 11:00 am-11:00 pm -- Kids Hot Cocoa Run 1:00 pm
Sunday, February 14 11:00 am-6:00 pm -- Royal Run 12:00 pm
10. Madison Winter Festival - Madison, WI
When: February 13-14, 2016
Where: Capitol Square - 2 East Main Street, Madison, WI 53703
Every year, Madison Winter Festival attracts more than 20,000 spectators, winter enthusiasts, and athletes. Over 90 truckloads of snow are shipped in to transform Capitol Square for the weekend to celebrate and promote outdoor sports, recreation, art and healthy lifestyles.
Saturday, February 14th 9:30 am-9:00 pm -- Ice Carving presented by BID and GSSBA 12:00-4:00 pm
Sunday, February 15th 9:00 am-4:00 pm -- FINDORFF Tubing Hill 10:00 am-2:00 pm
This article was written by Lauren Gaw.