A man jumps into the freezing waters of Lake Paran in North Bennington, VT during the Penguin Plunge.
A brave soul jumps into the freezing waters during the Lake Paran Plunge. Photo credit: Lake Paran

Looking for a family-friendly way to celebrate all things winter in Vermont? The annual North Bennington Winterfest will be held on Saturday, January 25 with breakfast at 9 am, followed by a full day of indoor and outdoor events.

Highlights of this Year’s Winterfest

Outdoor Events

Lake Paran Plunge: The main attraction at Winterfest is always the Lake Paran Plunge, otherwise known as the Penguin Plunge, which will begin promptly at 11 am, following a continental breakfast put on by the Lake Paran volunteers at 9 am.
Come cheer on the brave souls who take on the challenge of freezing their butts off to support summer camps for local kids. Want to be the one freezing your butt off? Download a registration form at The Shires of Vermont Website.

Snowman Building: Got snow? If the weather cooperates, Park-McCullough House will be hosting a snowman building event in front of the big house from 12 – 3 pm. Come play in the snow and then warm up by the fire pit with free s’mores.  This event is free and open to all.

A snowman with a carrot nose and a pot on his head.
Come build a snowman!

Community Snowshoe: RiseVT will lead a community snowshoe or hiking event at the Mile Around The Woods beginning at 1 pm (meeting just off the road).  Dion Snowshoes will have snowshoes available for anyone who needs to borrow a pair.

Indoor Events

Friends of the McCullough Library Winter Book Sale: 10 am – 4 pm at McCullough Library. Browse, shop and support the library! Hundreds of high quality used books, DVDs, audiobooks and much more will be for sale at very low prices. Rare and antiquarian books will be available as well. All proceeds from the sale directly fund library materials and free community events.    

12th Annual Chili Fest: Join the Norshaft Lions at St. John the Baptist Church from 11:30 am – 1:15 pm, where you can enjoy more than 30 different chilis along with cornbread and fixings.

Solar Fair and Chair Massages: Head over to the Left Bank from 11 am – 3 pm for a solar fair and demonstration and then enjoy a free chair massage or a $5 paraffin dip from Massage for You.

Events Especially for Kids

Winter Carnival: The Village School of North Bennington will host its Annual Winter Carnival on Saturday from 11:30 am – 3:30 pm.  Fun and games for kids of all ages including a bouncy house, miniature golf, face painting, cotton candy, popcorn, and interactive STEM-based games.

Penguin Storytime: 11:00 am at McCullough Library. Children, parents, and caregivers are invited to a special penguin-themed storytime and craft. A healthy snack will be available. 

Pony rides: Visit Taraden/Rhythm Hollow Stables from 12 – 3 pm for $5 pony rides. Taraden will also be hosting an indoor craft market.

Kid-friendly crafts: Visit Southshire Community School and Bennington County Head Start for crafts throughout the day.

Good Eats

No festival is complete without munchies and meals to keep your bellies full. The following venues will have food and drink specials all day.

  • Powers Market – Dixieland Jazz starting at 12 pm and meal specials all day.
  • Kevin’s – A pig roast with pork brisket sliders, pig candy BLTs, pulled pork, and bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Pig candy bacon eating contest, drink specials, and live music, starting at 11 am.
  • North Bennington Variety – $1 coffee and hot chocolate.
  • Pangea Lounge – Street food out front from 12 – 4 pm. Hot cocoa and libations in the lounge form 12 – 10 pm.

For a complete schedule and updates on this fabulous winter event, visit the Winterfest event page on Facebook or the Shires of Vermont Winterfest page.