Despite this year’s wacky winter weather, one event that remains a seasonal staple is Milton’s 11th annual Winter Festival, taking place this weekend.
The festival will feature events starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8 until 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, leaving plenty of opportunities for families to get outside and enjoy the winter weather with neighbors and friends.
Friday night’s party in Bombardier Park offers ice skating, laser tag, a moonlight snowshoe and a DanceWorks Academy performance. Attendees can snack on pizza, s’mores and hot cocoa while keeping warm by a bonfire. The night will conclude with a fireworks display at 8 p.m.
To continue the fun on Saturday, residents can enjoy being served breakfast food by local celebrities at the Milton High School cafeteria from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The breakfast is free of charge, but recreation coordinator Kym Duchesneau said organizers will accept monetary donations for the Milton Family Community Center food shelf.
This year’s celebrity servers include Local 22 & 44 meteorologist Sean Parker, “Survivor” contestant and Vermonter Kathy O’Brien, McDonald’s mascot Grimace, Miss Vermont Julia Crane and Miss Vermont High School Lizzie Martell, Milton schools superintendent Amy Rex, selectboard member Brenda Steady, school board member Emily Hecker, Milton Rescue member of the year Christian Carroll, middle school teacher of the year Rob DeCicco, Milton Artists’ Guild executive director Jesse Swetel, Milton Detective Cpl. Frank Scalise, high school principals Mary Jane Stinson and Anne Blake, MFCC executive director Vikki Patterson, elementary school teacher Logan Tracy and school athletic director Marcel Choquette.
Duchesneau said the breakfast will also feature music by Leno, Cheney & Young; games and activities for kids with the Big Blue Trunk, an interactive green screen with LCATV and mini cupcake decorating.
Sharp Park at Cobble Hill will offer free sledding from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. on Saturday and two-for-one snow tube rentals. The Milton Conservation Commission will lead a free snowshoe excursion in the town forest from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
As the sun dips below the horizon, the fun won’t stop for Miltoniains. FootWorks Studio of Dance is sponsoring a free Ice Crystal Ball at the grange for kids ages 2 to 12 with an adult from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Adults can experience a prom of their own at the Milton Community Youth Coalition’s Snow Ball hosted at Georgia Mountain Maples from 8 to 11 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance online.
Milton High School’s winter ball will also take place Saturday night from 8 to 11 p.m. at the high school. Tickets are $5 in advance or $7 at the door.
The weekend will wrap up with another day of fun on Sunday in Bombardier Park from noon to 2 p.m. The day will feature free sled dog and horse drawn wagon rides, hot cocoa, fresh popcorn and other refreshments, Duchesneau said. The Boy Scouts will host snowshoe sprint and slingshot contests at the park with prizes for the winners.
Duchesneau said the Colchester Lions Club will bring a pet food and supply drive to the park, and she encourages participants to bring donations. All items will be donated to the Humane Society of Chittenden County.
Also Sunday, Milton Public Library is hosting a chili cook-off from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. MPL’s MaryBeth Peterson said contestants can sign up by calling or visiting the library by Friday, Feb. 8. Participants can taste chili, chili dogs, cornbread and other refreshments with a donation that supports the Friends of the Milton Public Library.
Duchesneau said she’s looking forward to all of the winter fest events this year, noting there’s something for everyone.
“This winter has been so crazy weather wise,” she said. “I just think it’s been really rough on people so it will be fun to have everybody get out and visit with neighbors and friends in a community setting for a few days and celebrate what winter is all about.”