A Wintry Weekend in Hanover

Are you enjoying all of this snow, New Hampshirites? Winter is certainly in full force these days! Although I am not the season’s biggest fan, there are a few annual events that I’m willing to crawl out of my bear cave for. Dartmouth’s Winter Carnival and the Town of Hanover’s Occom Pond Party are two of those events, and they are happening this weekend in Hanover.

Winter Carnival snow sculpture, 2011

Winter Carnival snow sculpture, 2011

For over 100 years, Dartmouth has celebrated winter in the Upper Valley by throwing a Winter Carnival on campus. Organized by students, the Carnival, which also pays tribute to Dartmouth’s winter sports teams, is a long-standing tradition of the college, with each year featuring a specific theme. This year, Winter Carnival takes place from Thursday, February 5th- Sunday, February 8th, and the theme is “A Clash of Carnivals: Superheroes vs. Villains.”

Although some of the Winter Carnival events are for students only, there are still a number of things that the public can enjoy too. For instance, one highlight of the Carnival is the giant snow sculpture that the students build on the Green on campus that coincides with the year’s theme. Every year, truckloads of snow are transported to the Green, and every year I think to myself “there is no way they’re going to get that done on time,” as they begin their sculpting just days before the weekend festivities. Yet, every year they do, and often impressively so.

Sleigh rides at the Occom Pond Party

Sleigh rides at the Occom Pond Party

Another neat part of Winter Carnival is the ice sculpting competition, which also takes place on the Green (nearer to the Collis Center). Twenty teams (made of members of college recognized organizations) compete for two days with the help of professional sculptors to win cash prizes. The sculptures remain standing for as long as winter allows, giving the public plenty of time to catch a look. Other public events of the weekend include hockey and basketball games, HOP film showings, and a Northeast Fencing Conference competition. Details and full schedule are available here.

While you’re in Hanover this weekend, the Occom Pond Party is a fantastic (and free!), family-friendly event taking place Saturday (February 7th) from noon to 3pm. Now in its eighteenth year, the Occom Pond Party (located at Occom Pond, next to the Hanover Country Club golf course) features its own group of snow sculptures, skating, sleigh rides, an ice luge, ice castle, food, music, and more! There’s even a parade at 1pm.


If the Occom Pond Party sounds fun to you, and you want to be more involved, Hanover Parks & Recreation is also looking for volunteers for the event. There’s still time to sign up here, if you’re interested. Also, note that there is no parking at Occom on Saturday, but a shuttle is available from Dewey and Maynard Lots, 11:30am-4pm.

Whether you’re going to Winter Carnival or the Occom Pond Party, or both, Hanover is the place to be for winter fun this weekend!

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