Our Guide to the Newport Winter Festival

New England's largest Winter extravaganza returns in less than a month. The 30th Annual Newport Winter Festival will feature 10 days of non-stop music, food and fun.  We can think of no better place to celebrate the winter season this February 16th-25th than the always-haute City by the Sea. Here's a rundown of what to expect at this year’s festivities. 

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The 411 on the Annual Newport Winter Festival

From the 23rd annual Chili Cook-Off to beach polo to concerts by the Jimmy Buffet tribute band Changes in Latitude, the 10-day Newport Winter Festival is jam-packed with activities and entertainment for all ages. Just how much is there to do during this eagerly-awaited annual celebration of all things winter and Newport? More than 150 events to be exact. 

The festival has a pretty well kept secret. Discount bracelets are available for purchase. The winter festival bracelet promotion continues to be so popular that they remain a part of the festivities. “Brace Yourself” with a commemorative souvenir bracelet for just $10, and receive $500 in discounts at all official festival events as well as at more than 50 local stores and restaurants.

10 Days of Festivities, Food and Fun

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Not sure where to begin when it comes to scheduling your visit? The Newport Winter Festival’s Featured Events are the perfect place to start. Pop into Gurney’s Newport for Pineapples on the Bay on Friday afternoon for its 4th Annual, 'Polar Pineapples' -- the perfect spot to see and be seen -- for signature infused cocktails, specialty hot drinks, ice sculptures and an ice luge. (Can’t make it to Polar Pineapples on Friday? You can also check it out on Saturday night, as well as the following Friday.)

Saturday, February 17th brings the 23rd Annual Chili Cook-Off presented by Samuel Adams. Who will cook this year's best chili? The winner is up to you. Sam Adams specials will be available throughout the event. As soon as you're all filled up on chili, head over to Easton's Beach (a short walk from The Chanler) to take in Newport polo on the beach. Get some rest as the evening will be busy with another Polar Pineapples and a performance by the Jimmy Buffet Tribute Band, Changes in Latitude. You will be transported into warmer times immediately with beach balls, leis and a dancing conga line.

And that’s just in the first weekend! The Newport Winter Festival’s lineup continues throughout the week and into the next weekend, including “Teddy Bear Tea;” and the Samuel Adams Beer Dinner on Tuesday, February 20th. Enjoy tea and storytelling with the little ones beginning at 11 am at the Newport Harbor Hotel. Later that evening, celebrate Samuel Adams at The Mooring with a special selection of beers and a delectable tasting menu. 

The party does not stop there. Thursday's big events are the 13th Annual Illuminated Garden and the annual Best Hot Drink Contest. A dazzling display of lights will brighten up the grounds of Ballard Park from 6 pm to 9pm. Warm up at the Red Parrot restaurant with a panel of judges picking the winner of the best hot drink in Newport. Sample the various drinks and enjoy additional drink specials throughout the night. 

The closing days of the festival are not to be overlooked either. The Winter Festival Comedy Show is the main draw here. Laugh the night away with Steve Sweeny and Marion Grodin. The event will begin at 8:30 pm on Friday, February 23rd and will cost $28 at the door or $22 with an advanced purchase. Want the VIP treatment? Tickets are $55 at the door and $50 in advance. Be sure to check the festival's official website for more information about the Newport to Nashville Country Fest. 

Winter’s not going away anytime soon, so why not make the most of it by getting in on the event touted as, “New England’s Largest Winter Extravaganza”? Of course, after all that non-stop fun, you’ll need a place to put your feet up and where better than The Chanler? Book your stay today and enjoy the most relaxing winter retreat in Newport. 

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