New England

Best New England Festivals | Winter Fun

Bundle up, pour some hot chocolate, and enjoy the season! These New England festivals are some of our favorite winter celebrations.

By Yankee Magazine

Jan 02 2020


Human Dog Sled Race at Lowell Winterfest | Best New England Festivals to Hit This Winter

Photo Credit : Flickr/Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism/Creative Commons
Whether you look forward to our region’s long winters or dread them, you’ll find plenty of reasons to love these cold-weather New England festivals, which offer enough fun, food, and activities to satisfy any type of Yankee.

Best New England Festivals | Winter Fun

Best New England Festivals to Hit This Winter
Human dogsled race at Lowell Winterfest | Best New England Festivals to Hit This Winter
Photo Credit : Flickr/Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism/Creative Commons

Massachusetts Winter Festivals

Greenfield Winter Carnival January 31–February 2, 2020

This western Massachusetts winter festival serves up family fun for all ages, with ice sculpting contests, fireworks, fire dancers, breakfast with Frosty the Snowman, a cardboard sled race, a K-9 keg pull, sledding, and skating.

North Adams Winterfest February 15, 2020

Activities include a fun run, ice sculpting, a chowder competition, horse-drawn wagon rides, and roasting marshmallows at a community campfire.

Lowell Winterfest February 21–22, 2020

Head to downtown Lowell for face painting, magic shows, a soup bowl competition, ice skating, fireworks, art fairs, free ice-skating, an all-you-can-eat chocolate festivaland (last but not least) a human dogsled contest. [text_ad]

New Hampshire Winter Festivals

Newport Winter Carnival February TBA

Billed as the oldest continuous town winter carnival in the U.S., the Newport Winter Carnival boasts games, skating, and sledding at locations all over town, highlighted by the ever-popular Queen’s Pageant.

Dartmouth Winter Carnival February 6–9, 2020

Hanover hosts what may be the best known of all New England winter celebrations: the venerable Dartmouth Winter Carnival. Since 1911, the Ivy Leaguers of Dartmouth College have invited the community to join in on a weekend of winter zaniness, including polar bear swims, snow sculpture contests, and races.
Dartmouth Winter Carnival | Best New England Festivals to Hit This Winter
Photo Credit : Bros. Kozowyk

Maine Winter Festivals

Kennebunk WinterfestFebruary 8, 2020

This annual seacoast winter event features horse-drawn carriage rides, a scavenger hunt, “cabin fever” library book sale, snowshoe races, and a craft fair. And don’t miss the pancake breakfast that launches it all.

Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Winter Carnival February 15, 2020

Headlined by sleigh rides, dogsled rides, a polar dip, and ice fishing, this button-admission event also includes a snowshoe 5K, ice bar, and evening fireworks.

Vermont Winter Festivals

Newport Winter Festival February 29, 2020

Gardner Memorial Park is the place to be to celebrate the Newport Winter Carnival, complete with a pizza-eating contest, crafts, fireworks, entertainment, and plenty of good food.

Brattleboro Winter Carnival February 15–23, 2020

This popular winter event, taking place over an entire week, includes concerts and shows, the Queen’s Pageant, cook-offs, a pancake breakfast, and sporting competitions.

Rhode Island Winter Festivals

Woonsocket Mardi Gras February 22, 2020

Celebrate the area’s French-Canadian heritage with music, costumes, a Mardi Gras Queen coronation, and a delicious Cajun-inspired dinner.

Newport Winter FestivalFebruary 14–23, 2020

With more than 160 food and entertainment events —such as beach polo, live music, and the annual chili cook-off — the Newport Winter Festival (that’s our third Newport winter festival in New England, for those keeping track) has become so large that it takes 10 days to squeeze everything in.

Connecticut Winter Festivals

Unfortunately, our two favorite Connecticut winter celebrations appear to not be happening again this year. WinterFest at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield is not on the orchard’s or the town’s calendar for 2020, as is the Chester Winter Carnival. Let us know of any Connecticut winter festivals that should be included instead!

Know of any other New England festivals worth seeking out this winter? Let us know in the comments below. This post was first published in 2019 and has been updated. 

SEE MORE: Best 5 Winter Ocean Weekends15 Prettiest Winter Villages in New England10 Best Winter Towns in New England