19th annual Rutland Winterfest to carry on this weekend

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 4:21 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s Winterfest time in Rutland and despite COVID restrictions, organizers are trying to maintain some sense of normalcy for the 19th annual community celebration.

“We decided that we were just going to go for it in a safe environment,” said April Cioffi with the Rutland Recreation & Parks Department.

Winterfest has looked different this year for Russ Marsan’s landscaping business, Carpenter and Costin. Usually, they bring in ten ice blocks for a sculpting competition. This year, it’s been paired down to only three. “We are going to be putting rings around each one of the sculptures to make sure that anybody who does show up isn’t able to get too close to the people,” he said.

And the event used to be held with a chili cookoff that drew a big crowd. That has been canceled. “Maybe two to three-hundred people would typically show up on this particular day. But nowhere near the numbers we would have at some other events,” Marsan said.

One of the most loved and well-attended events, bringing in at least 1,000 people, is sledding down Center Street. But that also won’t be happening this year.

“I hope that the community is happy with what we’re offering -- trying to offer something as opposed to letting the year slip by,” Cioffi said.

By adjusting the list of activities the event has offered in the past, organizers will be able to spread people out around Rutland, hosting scavenger hunts and story walks that families like the Sharrows are taking part in. “We’ve been doing walks like this,” said Mason Sharrow, 8. “I like to see all of the snow sculptures and stuff like that.

The rec department hopes next year’s 20th annual festival will be back to the traditional version. “We’re looking forward to 2022.” Cioffi said

The sculpting competition kicks off Saturday at 10 a.m. Click here for other schedule information.

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