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Fireworks will fill the sky to signal the opening of Middlebury's 96th Winter Carnival on Thursday evening, February 14.

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Winter Carnival "Middnight Moonlight," February 14–17

February 12, 2019

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – With a winter storm on the way and heavy snow in the forecast for all of northern New England, the organizers of Middlebury’s annual Winter Carnival were gearing up for a long weekend of fun-filled activities.

The appearance of fresh, deep snow “should bring everyone on campus closer together as their interactions help warm up the crisp air of this Middlebury winter,” said Youssef Halim ’20.5 and Sam Caldwell ’19, the co-chairs of the 2019 Winter Carnival. “We hope that people will get outside and enjoy the never-ending shine that lurks around this place.”

Middlebury College’s 96th Winter Carnival will open on Thursday, February 14, at 8:30 p.m. with a bonfire and fireworks on the Ross Lawn and run through Sunday afternoon, February 17. This year’s Winter Carnival theme is “Middnight Moonlight.”

There will be no classes for students on Friday (in keeping with the Middlebury tradition) as the men’s and women’s alpine and Nordic ski teams will be in action against Dartmouth, Williams, the University of Vermont, St. Lawrence, the University of New Hampshire, and other rivals. The competition at the Snow Bowl and Rikert Nordic Center will continue on Saturday, and as always, there will be buses available both days to transport students to the day’s skiing events.

Friday will also feature an ice sculpture competition on “Battell Beach” (the quadrangle on the north side of Vt. Route 125), the screening of historic films with cookies and hot cocoa provided in Crossroads Café, an improv comedy show in Wilson Hall, and a late-night block party at the Ridgeline Houses.

Undergrads filled the dance floor at last year's Winter Carnival Ball. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

On Saturday, the Middlebury Figure Skating Club will present its annual Winter Carnival Ice Show "Spotlight on Broadway" at 4 p.m. in Kenyon Arena with student skaters, children from the Middlebury community, and guest performers Katarina DelCamp and Maxwell Gart. Competing in the pairs competition at the 2018 U.S. Junior National Championships, DelCamp and Gart placed in the top 10. 

The gala event of the season, the Winter Carnival Ball, will be in Nelson Arena on Saturday night featuring the Grammy-nominated DJ Audien.

The co-chairs of the Carnival said Saturday night’s ball “is always one of the best-attended events of the year, and the Middlebury College Activity Board is eager to receive students at Nelson Arena for an evening to remember.” Assisting with planning this year are MCAB members Trent Sorenson ’19, Betsy Knox ’20, Anna Spiro ’21, and Trishabelle Manzano ’21.

The 2019 Winter Carnival will conclude on Sunday with an encore performance of the ice show at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for both the ice show and the ball are available through the online box office.

Middlebury’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 when, according to College historian David Stameshkin, skiing and ski-jumping events took place on Chipman Hill, and snowshoe and obstacle races were held on Storrs Avenue.

Originally called “Winter Holiday" at Middlebury, 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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