BRATTLEBORO -- The Winter Carnival only comes but once a year.
"It's 10 days of family fun," said President of the Brattleboro Winter Carnival Nancy Doyle. "We have events for all ages, from young kids to older adults."
The 2013 Brattleboro Winter Carnival will be held from Feb. 15 to Feb. 24. It is in its 57th year.
There will be activities that include sleigh rides and free ice skating and the Retreat Petting Zoo will be open. Doyle told the Reformer that the carnival festivities provide a great opportunity for people to come outdoors and see each other.
"It's important to Brattleboro and residents because it's about the community," she said. "And a lot of the stuff we do is either at little to no charge, which helps out and gets people out in the community and gives people a sense of community."
Doyle has been on the Winter Carnival committee for eight years now. Before being named president of the committee, she was vice president.
"Being president this year is fantastic," Doyle said. "We have a great committee. A lot of them have been there for several years and we have a few new members. It's a wonderful organization to be a part of."
Doyle became involved because she was looking for something to do, to meet people and to be a part of the community, she said. Her friends told her that she should join the Winter Carnival Committee.
The first day of the carnival gets started with a torch lighting ceremony at Wells Fountain. Frosty the Snowman will be in attendance.
The Variety Show on Tuesday, Feb. 19, will be held at the Brattleboro Union High School. It starts at 7 p.m.
Doyle said that she's been going to the Variety Show since she started working on the Winter Carnival Committee.
"The Variety Show is always fun," she said. "There's a lot of great new acts this year."
The Chili Cook-Off at the Marina will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 20. It is something people won't want to miss. There will be a performance by the Brattlyn Brothers at the cook-off, too.
Another event of note, Doyle said, will be the Murder Mystery Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Brattleboro American Legion.
A new event will be held on Saturday night, Feb. 16. It will be an 80s theme dance party at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles on Chickering Drive. It costs $7 if you don't dress up and $5 if you do.
"Grand Day" Lunch will be held at the Brattleboro Senior Center. The idea of it is to bring someone 60 years or older with you.
"You can bring grandparents, a grand aunt or grand friends," said Doyle. "It's a fun day and the food is always good at the Senior Center."
Lunch will be served at noon. Children can decorate t-shirts at the event. Reservations can be made by calling 802-257-7570.
The Princess Pageant will be on the last day of the carnival. It will be held at the Brattleboro Union High School and it starts at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24.
Girls from ages 7 to 9 will be judged in four different categories. There will be five judges. An interview will be worth 30 percent of their overall score, a play outfit will be 20 percent, a play dress will be 20 percent and talent will be 20 percent. Participants submit essays on why sharing is important.
"This year, I have 10 girls, which is very exciting," said Debbie Partrick, director of the Princess Pageant. "There are three awards given out."
The awards are a first runner-up, second runner-up then a princess. A special director's award will be given by Partrick.
This is her third year as director of the pageant. She was also the first vice president of the Winter Carnival.
"There's just a lot of fun things for them to do," she said.
Partrick said that, "activities for kids, the low cost and the good food," are what brings people to the carnival.
"Most people I've heard are very excited about all our events," said Doyle. "A lot of people like to come to our Outdoor Family Fun Day."
That event will be held at the Living Memorial Park on Saturday, Feb. 16. There will be sledding, snowmobile rides, free ice skating and sugar on snow. It will cost $5 to ski.
"I just hope everyone comes and has a really good time," Doyle said. "There's so much stuff going on next week. It's a great time. I hope to see everyone out there. And we have snow this year!"
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.