What’s a midwinter vacation without a little snow?
Well, OK—Florida. Ha ha. You got us there.
So let’s rephrase: Who says you can’t enjoy vacation fun in snowy destinations even if you’re not a hardcore skier? Every year, people all over northern climes celebrate the season with local and regional festivals and similar events. Consult your calendars, pack your mittens and heavy parkas, and enjoy the fun at events such as these:
Christmas Mountain Winter Carnival
Water parks have made Wisconsin Dells one of the Midwest’s greatest summer vacation destinations. Well, water park fun continues throughout the winter, too—it just moves indoors. But for everyone who loves playing in the snow, there’s the Christmas Mountain Winter Carnival. The event takes place every year, usually in early February (in 2016, it’s February 6). And to the locals, it’s known simply as the “Original Winter Carnival.”
Winter is just not winter without a snowman. The Christmas Mountain Winter Carnival organizers know that. So they host a snowman building contest. Show off your skills by entering! For those who don’t mind going out in their skivvies, there’s the bikini/boxer ski races down the bunny hill. Though the area is famous for its downhill slopes, some prefer skiing across the water. Think you can stay afloat? Strap on your skis and enter the competition.
Golf in the Snow
There’s also long drive and closest-to-the-flag golf competitions, a wood-splitting competition, a prize dig, a snowball launch and more. Enjoy marshmallow roasts, face painting, half-barrel tosses, a Newlywed Game, and at night, a spectacular torchlight parade and fireworks. There will also be food and drink specials and live entertainment in Mulligan’s Bar N’ Grill.
With so many family-friendly activities to choose from, you just might hope the snow sticks around forever.
Get Winter-Festive in Tennessee
The winter festivals in Smoky Mountains don’t wait until midwinter. They actually begin in the fall, and possibly before the first snowfall. But Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and surrounding bergs light up wintry red and green in a series of region-wide winter events. The 2015-16 version opens November 9 and doesn’t close until February 29—leap day.
Gatlinburg’s Winter Magic festival includes such events as the Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff (November 11), the Trolley Tour of Lights (November 12-January 31), Winter Magic Tunes & Tales (November 28, December 5, 11), the Festival of Trees (November 29) and the 40th annual Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Parade (December 4).
The kickoff event to the Pigeon Forge Winterfest is November 11. Another highlight event in Pigeon Forge is the Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival, December 9-11).