During late fall and winter in Vermont, there’s a lot more to do than simply… walking in a winter wonderland. The crisp weather has skiers, riders and snowmobilers revved up for resorts’ and trails openings. Historically, several Vermont ski resorts open just in time to work off some of that Thanksgiving pumpkin pie! Snowmobiling season begins as early as mid-December. The Burlington region serves as a perfect base for outdoor adventures and also caters to those seeking cultural offerings. This season, the arts are also alive with galleries, theaters and music halls host to gift bazaars, classic holiday plays and heart-warming sing-alongs. Take time to explore the more relaxed pace of Burlington before holiday shopping and First Night celebrations re-invigorate the streets with faces sporting smiles and rosy-cheeks, surrounded by music and twinkling lights. Take in the beauty of the season; indulge yourself and stay a few nights. After a day downtown, on the ice, or in the snow, cozy up by a fire with a warm mug of cocoa or your favorite Vermont beer. Welcome to winter in Vermont!
Take part in some of Vermont’s most revered traditions & fetes in the months ahead:
Santa Parade & Church Street Lighting Ceremony
Santa makes a stop at the Church Street Marketplace! The parade starts at noon on City Hall Block. The day’s holiday festivities conclude with Church Street’s annual lighting ceremony and singing of carols. Witness the holiday cheer and illumination of a 50 ft. tree at the top of Church Street and 250,000 LCD lights along this pedestrian-only street. www.churchstmarketplace.com
Vermont International Festival
Celebrate the cultures that make up Vermont’s communities. At the exposition, you’ll find crafts from all over the world, ethnic and gourmet foods, and traditional international music, dance and stories. Local cultural and ethnic organizations provide information about their programs with exhibits, demonstrations and workshops. http://www.vermontinternationalfestival.com/
Country Christmas Open House & Holiday Paint-In
Historic Waitsfield village’s local businesses collaborate to create a festive setting that would make Norman Rockwell feel at home. Merchants offer festive shopping incentives while artists paint the holiday scene. Shoppers find bargains and perhaps purchase artwork while families enjoy refreshments next to a bonfire. www.madrivervalley.com
First Night Burlington
First Night is a New Year’s Eve festival of the arts that began in Boston in 1976 and is now in more than 130 cities throughout the world. Burlington, Vermont was the fifth city to embrace the substance-free First Night concept and has grown to be Vermont’s largest, single-day arts festival, providing an accessible and affordable New Year’s Eve celebration to thousands. Explore more than 20 venues over 12-hours of celebration. http://www.firstnightburlington.com/
Annual First Run 5k and Youth Fun Run
Kick off the New Year with the Annual First Run 5k and Youth Fun Run. Presented by UVM Medical Center, this festive running event is as much about fun as it is encouraging a New Year of wellness!
Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance Events
The City of Burlington hosts national speakers and local businesses; churches and colleges offer cultural events, and film screenings and discussions are held at multiple locations. Visitors may also independently tour some of the sites and historic markers along the State’s African American Heritage Trail. www.gbmrc.org & www.echovermont.org
Great Ice! Lake Champlain Islands Ice Festival
An on-ice celebration of winter fun for the whole family, the Lake Champlain Islands Ice Festival, Great Ice has both zany and classic ice activities: ice skating, dog-sledding, hockey, drag racing, frozen regattas, a fishing derby, guided island treks, extreme frisbee, a chili cook-off and bonfires to keep warm. Come play on the ice! http://www.greaticevt.org/
Winter is a Drag Ball
Higher Ground’s largest event of the year, Winter is a Drag Ball has been a festive LGBTQ celebration for more than 20 years. Local independent paper Seven Days calls it “One of Vermont’s largest and most outrageous parties…Regardless of which way one’s gender bends, it has become a must-attend gala for local revelers as well as out-of-towners, some of whom travel from as far away as Boston, Poughkeepsie, Provincetown and Toronto.” http://www.highergroundmusic.com/
Happy Holidays from all of us at the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber!