Fairs & Festivals

The Brookfield Ice Harvest Festival is held the end of January each year in Brookfield. This family event provides the opportunity to see how ice was harvested on Sunset Lake at the turn of the century. Activities include ice cutting and ice boom demonstrations, an ice-hauling contest, a chance to try hand-made snowshoes and view ice sculpting. Admission is free. 802-276-3959.

The 10th Annual VT Maple Open House Weekend will be held March 19-20, 2011. Activities will include the opportunity to watch syrup being made (weather permitting) and possibly to sample syrup and other maple products at sugarhouses. Information about the producers, which days they will be open, and directions to their sugarhouses can be found on www.vermontmaple.org or in the "2010-2011 Vermont Ski & Year-round Maple Syrup Guide" or by calling 800-837-6668.

Open Studio Weekend 2011, typically held on a weekend in late-May, is organized by the Vermont Crafts Council. Most Vermont craftspeople work in studios located in or close to their residences. They are exciting places to visit, reflecting the dynamic yet organized process used to produce finished works of art. Check on featured artists and studios in our region at vt1crafts@aol.com, 802-223-3380, www.vermontcrafts.com or the White River Craft Center at 802-728-8912.

The Fourth of July Parade and Street Fest, held on the Fourth, is hosted by the Randolph Area Chamber of Commerce and is one of the best Independence Day parades in Vermont! After the parade attendees head to the street festival on Merchants Row for a chicken BBQ and other food choices, games, crafts and entertainment. The Randolph Village Fire Department has a popular fireworks display, typically on July 3rd. Chamber Contact information: 802-728-9027, mail@randolph-chamber.com, www.randolph-chamber.com.

In late-July through the first week of August, visitors and residents of Rochester can experience a unique event at the BigTown BigTent, a Summer Festival of Poetry, Music, and Performing Arts. 2011 will mark the third year of the Festival organized by Anni Mackay in the natural amphitheater located behind her BigTown Gallery on Main Street in Rochester. The event combines visual and performing arts with performances each evening. Admission fees vary. 802-767-9670, www.bigtowngallery.com.

The Annual Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival comes to Randolph in mid-August every year. The festival features a two-week series of concerts for mixed ensembles performed by world-class artists at Chandler Music Hall and the Three Stallion Inn. 802-728-9878, tickets 802-728-6464, tickets@chandler-arts.org, www.chandler-arts.org/festivals.php or www.centralvtchambermusicfest.org.

The Fifth Annual Last Mile Ride, hosted by Gifford Medical Center, 44 South Main St., Randolph, is scheduled for August 20, 2011. More than 180 motorcycle riders participate in this charity ride to support Gifford Medical Center’s end-of-life care program. 802-728-7000, info@giffordmed.org, www.giffordmed.org.

New World Festival

The 19th Annual New World Festival is scheduled for Sunday, September 4, 2011 (typically the Sunday before Labor Day from noon to midnight. This all-day festival of Celtic and French Canadian music and dance featuring artists from New England, Canada and the British Isles is performed on five stages simultaneously in the newly renovated historic Chandler Music Hall and in other all-weather facilities. Location: Chandler Music Hall, 71-73 Main St., Randolph. 802-728-9878, becky@chandler-arts.org, www.newworldfestival.com.

A Vermont Top Ten fall event listing, the 140th Tunbridge World’s Fair, September 15-18, 2011, is a blend of active livestock shows with beautiful farm animals, a good old fair-time midway, and a competitive harvest and crafts exhibition. As a family venue this couldn’t be better—for all ages and interests—tucked away in a charming valley. Location: Tunbridge Fairgrounds, Route 110, Tunbridge. 800-889-5555, info@tunbridgeworldsfair.com, www.tunbridgefair.com/.

The Tweed River Music Festival in Stockbridge will be in its third year in mid-August 2011. It has grown and, according to its organizer and musician, Bow Thayer, when promoting the event for 2010, "… you can expect to see some grinding riff rock, to bluegrass and everything in between including a much anticipated Benders Reunion. We feel that this year’s festival is in the prime position of being big enough to create a huge party atmosphere with lots of folks from near and far and because of the way the grounds are situated, with camping and music intertwined, maintain an intimate atmosphere often lost in the bigger festivals." Track the date and location at www.tweedrivermusicfestival.com or Bow@BowThayer.com.

Imagine a sunny summer weekend at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds, with 4,000 people re-living important moments in Vermont history, watching history-based theater, parades or music performances and generally having fun while experiencing Vermont's rich heritage. The biennial Vermont History Expo will be held in the early summer of 2012. At the Expo, a collection of 150+ local historical societies, museums, and heritage organizations meet to create a fresh picture of Vermont history with exhibits, music, family activities, music, food, presentations, performances, and more. Follow the Vermont Historical Society’s website, organizer of the event, at www.vermonthistory.org or call 802-479-8502.