Once you manage to shake off the New Year’s hangover, you’re faced with another daunting prospect: three months of winter. Three very long months of gray skies, hardened slush, intimidating wind chills, and no more time off from work.
If only a fraction of that held true, the Lambertville-New Hope Winter Festival would look like a shimmering oasis. As it is, it’s about the only reason to leave the house for the foreseeable future when you’re not otherwise obligated to.
Even more than a distraction for your cabin-feverish tykes and an opportunity to eat and drink like it’s the holidays all over again, the winter festival is an essential reminder of the best part of life in the Delaware River towns: the community.
Our worlds can get pretty small during the leanest time of year. But the Lambertville-New Hope Winter Festival is a sharp departure from that. Whether you’re waiting in line at the Taste of Winter Fest, joining the pack around a guy with a chainsaw going at a six-foot block of ice, or piling into the chili cook-off, you’re among friends and neighbors (every one of them as desperate as you for the connection).
As further proof that this is an event by and for the community, the winter festival has a considerable reputation for giving back. The 2018 edition raised over $41,000 for the likes of Fisherman’s Mark, the Lambertville-New Hope Ambulance & Rescue Squad, New Hope Celebrates, and the New Hope-Solebury School District and South Hunterdon School District scholarship funds.
The Lambertville-New Hope Winter Festival is nine days of activity (specifically, January 19-27). There’s a complete schedule on the site. These are a few of the events we recommend not missing. A couple of them require tickets (they’re available online) and sell-out fast, so act now if you’re interested. You don’t want to be left out in the cold—literally.
A puppet show, snow cones, and slime
Come January 26, you may be under the impression that your kids are no longer capable of sitting still or talking at a level that doesn’t jar your eardrums. In which case, usher them into the Music Mountain Theatre and watch a bunch of puppets hold them captive. Then, get them hopped up on snow cones. They can burn off their sugar rush making slime with Mad Science of West New Jersey.
Just as they start to catch their second wind, there’s a play to hold them rapt for another hour. If you play it right, that’s two to three hours that you’re not responsible for entertaining them, long enough to reclaim your sanity.
Taste of Winter Fest
It’s a tasting at The Lambertville Station on Jan. 24 featuring all of your favorite restaurants from New Hope and Lambertville: The Salt House, El Tule, Hamilton’s Grill Room, Nektar, and Marsha Brown, among others. Unionville Vineyards will be there, too. As will Riverhorse Brewery. Sample from the places you’ve been meaning to get around to or hang out and graze from your favorites.
Triumph Brewing Company, on Jan. 27, will host what’s become the winter festival’s signature—and encore—event: the chili cook-off. Restaurants will vie for a top-three spot among the critics’ favorites and an even-more coveted place among the people’s choices.
But, really, no one goes home a loser, especially the fortunate few who were smart enough to nab a ticket a month in advance. (Cough, cough.) It’s three hours of gorging on piping-hot chili and frosty beer among some of your closest friends on an otherwise nondescript Sunday afternoon in the dead of winter.
Do you have other plans then the Lambertville-New Hope Winter Festival?