The Hippo


May 25, 2020








A snowshoe tour of LaBelle’s vineyard. Courtesy photo.

Winter Family Fun Fest

Where: LaBelle Winery, 345 Route 101, Amherst
When: Saturday, Feb. 27, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free admission 

Kids welcome at the winery
LaBelle Winery hosts Winter Family Fun Fest

By Angie Sykeny

 Grown-ups aren’t the only ones who can have fun at a winery — on Saturday, Feb. 27, LaBelle Winery in Amherst will host its annual Winter Family Fun Fest.

“People may not think of a trip to the winery as a family activity, but there’s so many fun things for families and children to do here in the winter,” said Michelle Thornton, LaBelle director of sales, business and program development.
The Beaver Brook Association will be running a kids’ corner throughout the day, starting at 11 a.m., with crafts and activities. There will be a see-and-touch display with bird feathers and other objects from nature for kids to explore, and naturalists will share fun facts about wildlife and how animals survive the winter months. Kids can also learn about winter birding and may even go on a birding excursion around the winery property. There will be make-and-take craft projects like winter bird feeders and window ornaments to help prevent bird window strikes.
Students from the New Hampshire Institute of Art will be on site all day doing elaborate face paintings.
“It’s not your ordinary face painting,” Thornton said. “The sky is the limit. If a kid wants something in particular, they get it. You should see some of the designs they do.”
Visitors can watch a demonstration of how liquid nitrogen ice cream is made, then sample the finished product with Sub Zero Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt. Fuller’s Sugarhouse from Lancaster will be there serving up authentic maple sugar snow cups until 3 p.m.
“‘Authentic’ is a big deal.” Thornton said. “You have to have the right syrup and the right temperature, and Fuller’s is very serious about it. Families and kids look forward to it, and for a lot of them, it’s the first time they’ve ever tried it.”
The LaBelle Bistro will be open all day with its regular winter menu as well as some Winter Family Fun Fest specials suited for kids. Families on the go can choose from a selection of boxed lunches that contain a sandwich, fruit, homemade cookie and a beverage.
Every hour from 12:15 to 3:15 p.m., LaBelle’s vineyard manager, John Temchak, will take visitors on a tour of the vineyards and explain the overwintering process of the grapevines. Beaver Brook will provide snowshoes for the tours.
New to the fest this year, the Pontine Theatre will perform a 12-minute puppet show based on e.e. cummings’ short story “The Little Girl Named I” at 12:30 p.m.
At 12:45 p.m., visitors can snowshoe or hike down to the lower field for a bonfire and s’mores-making. S’mores kits will be provided while supplies last.
Those who bring their own sleds can close out the day with some sledding on the famous Bragdon Farm sledding hill located behind the winery.
“Anyone who grew up in this area knows it’s the most spectacular sledding hill around,” Thornton said.
Since its first Winter Family Fun Fest four years ago, LaBelle has continued to add more family-friendly programming to its calendar. The plan, Thornton says, is to have a Family Fun Fest every season.
“Families come here all the time, so we want to give them [events and activities] that are wholesome and educational for the children,” she said. “There are so many educational components like our vineyard and our farm where we grow veggies for our bistro, and kids love to come here and explore all that.” 

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