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Castleberry Fairs

Winterfest celebration showcases the best that wintertime on Squam has to offer



WINTERFEST_3
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Families had a great time sledding on the hill behind the Squam Lakes Association headquarters last Saturday, one of several activities available during their annual Winterfest event. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
February 20, 2019
HOLDERNESS – Sunny skies and fresh winter air drew large crowds to the Squam Lakes Association's headquarters in Holderness last Saturday afternoon for their 22nd Annual Winterfest Celebration, where cups of hot chili and lots of outdoor activities were the focal point of the day.

Inside the lodge, people sampled hearty chili dishes from nine local eateries, then cast a vote for their favorite. Taking part this year were the Common Man Restaurant of Ashland; Six Burner Bistro of Plymouth; the Common Man Café and Tavern from Rumney; Walter's Basin, The Manor, and the Golden Pond Country Store in Holderness; Rubbin' Butt BBQ from Center Harbor; and both Hart's Turkey Farm and Sunshine and Pa's Restaurant in Meredith. While all the recipes were crowd-pleasers, for the eighth time since 2003, it was The Manor that received the most votes from participants in the event.

The chili wasn't the only thing that was hot at this year's Winterfest though. Outside there were plenty of activities to keep everyone warm. Some families took time for sledding on a hill above the lake while others headed straight for the ice where there was a skating oval, a hockey rink and the always popular mini-golf course for all to enjoy. Still more folks strapped on snowshoes or cross-country skis to experience an outing on the lake or surrounding woodlands. And when anyone needed to take a break from all that fun, a warm campfire, marshmallows to roast, and cups of hot cocoa were available on the shore.

"This has become a great way for us to engage the public in what we do here," explained Melissa Leszek of SLA.

The McCormick family, who were staying in Moultonborough, were among many who were excited about the event. Dad John McCormack said his children were on their winter vacation break this week, and for the past few years, they have made Winterfest a destination.

"We're kicking all the fun off here today. It's a great time," he said.

Another family from Methuen, Mass. was quite enthusiastic about their first trip to Squam Lake and the Town of Holderness. Dad Bryan said he spotted the event on the Internet, gathered the family together and drove up just for the day.

"We really wanted to be able to get out and skate on a lake — something we can't do back home. And now we've done it," he said. "We love New Hampshire. We love the White Mountains. This is just a living photograph here today; it really is. It's like a Currier and Ives scene."

His wife said they fell in love with Holderness as they drove through the town that morning, and hope to make more trips to the area now that they've discovered the beauty of the lake and surrounding mountains.

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