State News

Ring in the New Year Vermont-style: 16 events to celebrate 2016

Courtesy of

Vermont’s New Year’s Eve celebrations often include vibrant fireworks displays.

STATEWIDE — The Green Mountain State is host to traditional New Year’s Eve festivals full of fireworks, torchlight parades and fanfare, but there’s also an array of unconventional celebrations. From, here are Vermont’s top 16 events to ring in 2016. (Please check the website for event status.)

16. Manchester Music Festival: The Manchester Music Festival will close the year with a special celebration. The nine-piece Manchester Festival Strings and a surprise guest will take you from classical to Broadway, waltzes to the Beatles.

15. Early Midnight at Okemo: Okemo Mountain Resort turns New Year’s Eve into a family affair by moving midnight forward — allowing young children to ring in the New Year at a reasonable hour. Early evening ice skating, magic show, wagon rides, Bingo, trivia, and more. Festivities conclude at 9 pm with fireworks. Ludlow.

14. Contra dance: Contra dancing is a form of American folk dance where you are likely to partner up with everyone on the dance floor. Many of the basic moves are similar to square dancing, but contra revelers form a set of two parallel lines. In Norwich at 8 pm.

13. Midnight yoga: Set your intention for a great 2016! This class at Laughing River Yoga in Winooski includes yoga poses, breath work, meditation and deep relaxation. 10 p.m.-12:15 a.m.

12. New Year’s Eve Road Race: Run in the New Year! This festive 5K race is in Vermont’s capital, Montpelier, where you’ll also find a magician, fireworks and local favorites, the Dave Keller Band.

11. Wine and Maple Tour and Picnic: Indulge in all things Vermont. Visit a sugarhouse, take a sip at a beautiful winery famous for Vermont ice wine, tour the vineyard and enjoy a picnic. 11 a.m., leave from the Essex.

10. A Peaceful Philo Snowshoe: Grab warm clothes and winter gear to snowshoe up Mt. Philo. Few outings are as romantic as a year-end hike with a thermos of hot cider and maple crème cookies. Watch the stars above, the glittering lights and lake below, and possibly the fireworks over Burlington.

9. First Night St. Johnsbury: The biggest festival of the arts in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom features 56 different acts and 20 different venues. Be sure to catch the Nimble Arts Ruckus Circus, a group of aerial acrobats who have performed with the world famous Cirque du Soleil. Folk, pop, rock, jazz, bluegrass, Broadway, sacred, silly, contemporary, country, classical—it’s all here, plus fireworks at midnight.

8. First Night Burlington: Vermont’s largest, single-day arts festival. Burlington was the fifth city in the world to embrace the First Night concept and its annual showcase of world-class entertainers is a sight to see.

7. Family Camping: Hulbert Outdoor Center offers a New Year’s Week Family Camp, complete with snowshoeing, dogsledding, stories by the fire, skiing, sleigh rides, and family games. Dec. 27-Jan. 1, Lake Morey.

6. Dog Sledding: Braeburn Siberians in Windsor offers a two-hour excursion on Thursdays in December. Enjoy the thrill of the ride and the howl of the hounds. Reservations required.

5. Pie Concert: A rousing, free concert by the Vermont Youth Orchestra is followed by a pie social, Colchester.

4. Sleigh Bells Ring: A team of Belgians or Percherons will pull your sleigh through a maple grove, across the ridge of a mountain, down the back side to an old log cable. Once there, warm up by the wood stove and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, Wilmington.

3. New Year’s Dog Parade: Howl in the New Year with your very best canine friend. Join Sugarbush Resort for its sixth annual Dog Parade and costume contest at 3:30 p.m. Proceeds support PAWSitive Pantry.

2. New Year Meditation: Join a contemplative community for guided instruction in sitting and walking meditation, reflection and discussion, Jan. 1, Barnet.

1. First Day Hikes: The first day of the year is a great time to take a free, guided hike through a Vermont State Park or forest. Leashed dogs are welcome on some trails. Jan. 1, statewide.

Mountain Times Newsletter

Sign up below to receive the weekly newsletter, which also includes top trending stories and what all the locals are talking about!