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Middlebury's Winter Carnival dates back to the 1920s, and the tug of war has been a favorite event for generations.

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Winter Carnival Features Skiing, Skating, and Snow Games

February 10, 2015

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – With two feet of snow on the ground and more in the forecast, Middlebury’s 92nd annual Winter Carnival, Feb. 12-15, promises to be a weekend filled with fun and excitement.  

“We are excited to have so much snow this year to celebrate Winter Carnival!” said co-chair Mary Rose Richards ’15. “This year's lineup of events will appeal to students and contribute to a fun weekend when we can share in this longstanding tradition and promote a sense of community on campus and in the town.”

Sponsored by the Middlebury College Activities Board, Winter Carnival will open on Thursday night with a bonfire and fireworks display on campus. Next up, comedian Jay Larson will entertain the student body at 9:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall, formerly known as McCullough Social Space.

There will be no classes for students on Friday (in keeping with the Middlebury tradition) as the Middlebury Mountain Club will conduct its popular "Northern Lights" event – a variety of afternoon races and games on the snow-covered quad between McCullough and Voter Halls.

With intercollegiate Alpine and Nordic ski races going on at the Snow Bowl and Rikert Ski Touring Center on both Friday and Saturday, the College will run free buses from campus to generate enthusiasm for Middlebury’s varsity skiers.

On Friday afternoon starting at 4:30 p.m. at Crossroads Café, there will be snacks, hot chocolate, and screenings of Winter Carnival films of yore. The annual carnival concert will start at 8 p.m. in Wilson Hall with the bands Cloud Nothings and Vacationeer.

The Winter Carnival Ice Show will take place both Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. in Kenyon Arena with choreographed numbers relating to this year’s theme, “Lights! Camera! Skate!” Kendall Wyckoff ’14.5, who competed internationally, and Alan Sutton ’15 will skate solos, joined by the undergraduates and faculty and staff children who belong to the College’s figure skating club.

jimmy ma
Guest skater Jimmy Ma

This year’s guest skater is Jimmy Ma, 18, of the Skating Club of New York who was a 2014 U.S. Figure Skating junior men’s bronze medalist and 2015 senior men’s competitor. Ma is expected to have triple jumps in his program.

The Winter Ball in Nelson Recreation Center will start at 10 p.m. on Saturday with DJ Clinton Sparks and, as usual, is expected to keep everyone dancing until the wee hours of Sunday morning. Carnival will conclude on Sunday with brunch in the dining halls and the second performance of the ice show at 2 p.m.

Tickets to the stand-up comedian, the carnival concert, the ice shows, and the ball are available through the online box office and at the box office in McCullough Student Center.

Middlebury College’s Winter Carnival dates back to February 1920 and is believed to be the oldest, student-run winter carnival in the country. It has been presented in its current format since 1934, according to College historian David Stameshkin, when skiing and ski-jumping events took on place on Chipman Hill, and snowshoe and obstacle races were held on Storrs Avenue. Originally called “Winter Holiday,” the occasion also featured hockey games, skating shows, snow sculpture competitions, and two big dances including the formal Carnival Ball and the informal Klondike Rush.  


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