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12 Vermont Winter Festivals You Won’t Want to Miss in 2024

As tempting as it may be to hibernate through these short days and long nights, I can tell you from experience that if you live in Vermont (or visit often), the best way to get through winter is to embrace it!

A collage of photos featuring winter in Vermont events and festivals.
Embrace the cold with these Vermont winter festivals and events!

There are oodles of things to do in Vermont in winter, but these Vermont winter festivals are celebrated by local communities across the state and are ideal for embracing the cold, snow, and ice.

Come soak up winter and then cozy up with your favorite person, beverage, or book near the fireplace for a memorable Vermont winter weekend.

Vermont in January: Events and Festivals

Cabot Village 12th Night Celebration: Cabot, Vermont

January 5 – 6, 2024

The Lantern Parade at Cabot Village 12th Night Celebration.
The Lantern Parade at Cabot Village 12th Night Celebration. Photo credit: Cabot Arts

Welcome to the fourth annual 12th Night Celebration in Cabot Village! This free Vermont winter festival wraps up the holidays perfectly, with two days of live music, storytelling, hot cocoa, bonfires, a puppet show, a theater performance, a paper lantern parade, and a community sing.

Brought to you by Cabot Arts, an organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the performing literary arts and artists in the town of Cabot.

Where to stay near Cabot: With a population of fewer than 300 people, you won’t likely find lodging right in Cabot. This cute cabin is an exception and would make a perfect home base for the weekend.

Vermont Burlesque Festival: Barre and Burlington, Vermont

January 17 – 21, 2024

The Maine Attraction is headlining the 2024 Vermont Burlesque Festival.
The Maine Attraction is headlining the 2024 Vermont Burlesque Festival.

Get ready to heat up those cold winter nights with a multi-day, multi-city festival like no other.

Marketed as New England’s largest celebration of body positivity and the burlesque revival, the Vermont Burlesque Festival features four different shows in Burlington and Barre City, as well as classes, comedy, live music, and a silent auction. It’s been nominated by Seven Days as one of the “Best Live Arts Events in Vermont”.

Buy tickets to the Sneak Peak event in Burlington on Thursday, January 18th, the Granite City Showcase in Barre on Friday, January 19th, or two Queen City Showcases in Burlington on Friday or Saturday night. For a full line-up of events and to buy tickets, visit the events page at Vermont Burlesque Festival.

Where to stay in Barre and Burlington: In Burlington, stay at Hilton Lake Champlain, with fantastic views of the water and easy walking to restaurants and shopping. This is also the location for the Queen City Showcase on Saturday, so you’ll be in the center of the activity. In Barre, stay at Firehouse Inn, a renovated firehouse right across from the Barre Opera House (site of Friday night’s event).

Winter Rendezvous: Stowe, Vermont

January 17 – 21, 2024

Skier with a pride flag in Stowe, Vermont
Skier with a pride flag in Stowe. Photo credit: Winter Rendezvous

The 40th annual Winter Rendezvous in Stowe is described as “five days of wintery bliss” on their website, and it’s the perfect way to fall in love with snowy Vermont winter. Eclectic Festivities include a bowling party, pool party, LGBTQ+ Winter Pride Festival (and Gay Ski Week), live music, drag bingo, theater, cocktails, and a huge dance party.

Two Vermont winter festivals in one — coinciding with Winter Rendezvous is the 48th annual Stowe Winter Carnival from January 18-20, 2024. This is a family-friendly, town-wide event with ice carving demonstrations and competitions, the iconic Snow Volleyball tournament, and stargazing at Trapp Family Lodge.

Where to stay in Stowe: If you have tickets to Winter Rendezvous, stay at Topnotch Resort and Spa, the event’s official host. Our second choice is Tälta Lodge Bluebird, which is located on The Mountain Road and very close to Stowe Mountain Resort for skiing.

Brookfield Ice Harvest Festival: Brookfield, Vermont

January 27, 2024

Photo credit: Pond Mountain Inn

Head to the small village of Brookfield at the end of January to learn how ice was harvested on Sunset Lake at the turn of the century. The Brookfield Ice Harvest Festival features ice-cutting and ice boom demonstrations, an ice-hauling contest, ice sculpting, and a chance to try out homemade snowshoes.

Seasonal outdoor activities like sledding, skating, and broomball will depend on the weather. This free event is a great way to experience a piece of Vermont’s history.

Where to stay in Brookfield: Stay in one of these cozy log cabins right in Brookfield for a memorable winter getaway. Cozy Log Cabins is pet-friendly and sleeps up to six guests.

Paran Plunge and Wintefest: North Bennington, Vermont

January 27, 2024

A hearty soul takes the Paran Plunge in North Bennington. Photo: Vermont Begins Here

This day-long festival in the heart of North Bennington includes a famous chili fest, a craft fair and bake sale, winter demonstrations, plus a chance to support Lake Paran by immersing yourself in its icy cold waters.

Don’t have what it takes to take the Paran Plunge? Come support your friends and neighbors!

Waterbury Winterfest: Waterbury, Vermont

January 30 – February 4, 2024

Winterfest 2015 ice sculpture in Waterbury, Vermont.
An ice sculpture from Winterfest 2015. Photo credit: Waterbury Winterfest

Waterbury Winterfest is an epic collection of special events spread over 10 days. Outdoor events include a rousing game of broomball (basically it’s hockey without skates), fat tire demonstrations, cross-country skiing, snow volleyball and soccer, and more. Indoors, you can take part in wine tasting, wassailing, a beer quiz, a silent auction, and a snowball dance.

Most activities are free, with a few exceptions, but many of the events do require pre-registration. Visit Waterbury Winterfest to learn more.

Where to stay in Waterbury: We’ve enjoyed staying at the Fairfield by Marriott in Waterbury, which has a nice indoor pool, and you can’t beat the location.

Vermont in February: Events and Festivals

Great Ice!: North Hero, Vermont

February 16 – 18, 2024

Great Ice! In North Hero, Vermont.
Enjoying a day on the ice in North Hero. Photo credit: Great Ice!

Every winter Great Ice! turns North Hero’s frozen city bay into a winter playground for all ages. Festival highlights include fireworks, bonfires, dog sled rides, skating on lighted rinks, cookoffs, and a snow-building competition.

Be sure to do the popular Over n’ Back trek, a 1.7-mile trek across frozen Lake Champlain to Knight Island State Park where hot chocolate and refreshments await. The path is ungroomed and figuring out the best way to get there is half the fun. Reliable snow boots work fine, but you can also ski, skate, fat bike, or be dragged on a sled. Whatever works!

Where to stay in North Hero: Winter lodging is very limited in North Hero. Try the Hampton Inn in St. Albans, which is within walking distance of shops and restaurants and has an indoor pool.

Annual Harris Hill Ski Jump Competitions, Brattleboro, Vermont

February 17 & 18, 2024

A ski jumper at Harris Hill Ski Jump in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Photo credit: Harris Hill Ski Jump/Doug Learned

This year, the iconic Harris Hill Ski Jump Competition will celebrate 102 years of ski jumping in Brattleboro with two thrilling competitions. This long-standing Brattleboro tradition is held on New England’s only Olympic-size, 90-meter hill.

The Pepsi Challenge takes place on Saturday, February 18th, and the Fred Harris Memorial Tournament is on Sunday, February 19th.

If you’ve never witnessed the thrill of watching winter high-flyers, you’re in for a treat. A field of around 40 of the world’s top up-and-coming ski jumpers from the US and Europe are scheduled to compete this year. Jumpers launch from the takeoff and soar more than 300 feet at speeds of nearly 60 mph.

The event has a festive atmosphere for the whole family with food, music, souvenirs, a bonfire, and a beer tent.

Where to stay in Brattleboro: If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, check out Colonial Motel, which features an indoor saltwater pool and spa. Latchis Hotel provides affordable accommodations within walking distance of Brattleboro’s shops and restaurants.

Artful Ice Shanties: Brattleboro, Vermont

February 19 – 27, 2024

Maybe you’ll already be visiting Brattleboro for the annual Harris Hill Ski Jump, or maybe you want to make a special trip to check out Brattleboro Museum & Art Center’s Artful Ice Shanties at Retreat Farm. The Artful Ice Shanties outdoor exhibit is a place-based celebration of artistic talent, creative ingenuity, and the rich history of ice fishing at the Retreat Meadows.

The Artful Ice Shanties will be displayed on the Retreat Meadows from Saturday, Feb. 19, through Sunday, Feb. 27. Come meander through the village of huts as you sip hot cocoa, provided by the museum. This family-friendly event is free for all ages.

Lighten Up: Middlebury, Vermont

February 24, 2024

Bring light to the Middlebury community with a lantern walk through downtown with stops at local businesses offering free outdoor entertainment and food/beverages for purchase. 

Lighten Up Middlebury is the perfect way to embrace winter while supporting local businesses. You can even visit Experience Middlebury for directions on how to make your own lantern for the event.

Where to stay in Middlebury: The historic Swift House Inn features beautiful rooms and an onsite restaurant.

Newport Winter Festival: Newport, Vermont

February 24, 2024

Newport Winter Festival is a nostalgic step back in time where kids and adults come together to celebrate winter in Vermont. All-day activities take place at Prouty Beach and Gardiner Park in Newport and include skating, bonfires, tubing, sledding, a broomstick tournament, snow sculpture contests, a scavenger hunt, and fireworks.

All ages are welcome at this free event!

Where to stay in Newport: Newport City Inn & Suites features basic comfortable rooms and an indoor pool.

No matter how you feel about winter, you’re sure to appreciate these Vermont winter festivals and events to help you make the most of the season.

Did we forget one of your favorite Vermont winter festivals? Send us an email and we’ll check it out!

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Tara Schatz is a freelance writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of Vermont Explored and Back Road Ramblers, an American road trip blog. She is also the co-author of the 3rd edition of AMC’s Best Day Hikes in Vermont, released in May 2023, and the author of 100+ Wonderful Ways to Experience Vermont.