Mid-January is a drag, so break out, and hit the carnival. About five days of "blah-relief" is available in this winter wonderland, snow sports and ice carving included. Kids Carnival Kaos brightens up the days for the younger set, and you can get going again with snow volleyball and snow golf tournaments. The Village Night Block Party has been termed "infamous," so don't miss that, and "zany" sporting events occur throughout the carnival. The annual NICA ice carving competition is not to be missed; young and old enjoy this event.

Mid-February, when most are feeling winter-bedraggled, the Winter Carnival offers 10 days of fun and celebration to revive the spirit. Snow sport competitions and live entertainment lure people out of their warm nests to defy the cold and fully enjoy themselves. Outdoor activities like ice-fishing, skating, sleigh rides and a parade flout the weather and top it off with fireworks. Indoor events are just as exciting with the Queen's Pageant, junior Olympic events, pancake breakfast, karaoke, variety show, country & western jamboree and a beach party.

Picture yourself sitting outside, craft beer in hand, gazing at the picturesque mountain setting of Bear Mountain. You can actually do that on the Vermont Brewers Festival. Artisan craft beer is the focus of this event, and beer lovers and brewers have gathered to drink it and discuss it for over two decades. Brewers from all over New England and some from Quebec enjoy the beer and the local Vermont food without any pesky plastic bottles. This was the first event in the state to ban plastic bottles, and who drinks beer out of plastic? Craft beer drinkers most certainly do not! Come on down and have a glass of beer.

About three days at the end of April, sugar house tours and sap runs celebrate the glories of maple syrup. The carnival, arts and crafts, food, entertainment, contests and antique show lure visitors, and the art exhibit, grand parade and youth talent show keep them here. Naturally, there is a pancake breakfast, but the 5K and 10K runs work off the calories. Oh wait, maple syrup has no calories during this festival, does it?

  • Downtown Main St Bennington, VT 5201 in Bennington, VT

Arts and crafts combine with food and entertainment to take over the downtown as 75 or so vendors display their wares over the Memorial Day weekend. Items made from fabric, glass, metal and wood, along with pottery and jewelry, will line the way. Ethnic foods of Germany, India and Italy and American favorites dominate School Street like it's a food-fest. Eat gourmet seafood, wood-fired pizza, fried dough and ice cream, among other things.

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