Not much winter, but plenty of fun

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HOLLY PELCZYNSKI - BENNINGTON BANNER
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NORTH BENNINGTON — Snowmen might have been in short supply, but the annual Winterfest festival delivered its usual bustle of activity and fun to the town of North Bennington on Saturday.

The festival offered a plethora of activities for all ages, with the day kicking off with the traditional Paran Plunge at Lake Paran. Beyond the lake, organizations joined in on the festivities with winter themed events.

Saturday was an unseasonably warm day, which helped aid in the number of people who attended the event. Winterfest is held every year by the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Village School of North Bennington hosted an indoor winter carnival. Each classroom hosted a different game or activity — with game tickets sold at the door. Besides games, there was also a book sale and white elephant sale, and much more.

Food was provided by Hound Dogs; many children and their families hit the school's playground after finishing up at the carnival.

Profits made from ticket sales went directly back to the school to go toward school related activities and events, according to Matthew Schade, a member of the Friends of the Village School, which helped put on the event. The school participates in the festival every year.

Schade said that it had been a busy day, with many more people showing up this year than last.

"This is a great event that we look forward to each year," he said. "This also gives people a chance to see the school and to showcase what the school has."

Just beyond the school grounds, the Park McCullough House participated in on the festival for the first time this year. The grounds in front of the main house had a bonfire, complete with every camper's favorite, s'smores.

"We planned on having a snowman building competition, but that didn't pan out," said Alyssa Barry, a member of the Park McCullough House board. She passed out materials to help children make their s'mores.

Instead of a traditional snowman, a wooden snowman stood by the s'smores table that children could help decorate.

"It's been going great," Barry said. "We've had a steady stream of children since we started."

Other events included the NorShaft Lions Club's ninth annual chili festival; a pop-up book and media sale at the John G. McCullough Free Library; pony and wagon rides, arts and crafts at the Bennington County Headstart; cookie making at the Southshire Community School and a winter art show hosted by The Bennington Area Arts Council.

Winterfest was sponsored by Power Guru, Whitman's Feed Store, North Bennington Variety and the Bennington Banner. Other contributors included the Vermont Arts Exchange, North Bennington Fire Department, Village of North Bennington; North Bennington Highway Superintendent Norm LeBlanc, Catamount Access Television and the Bennington Rescue Squad.

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