2024 Winter Carnival Will Be Out of This World

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Students chart course for a stellar celebration.

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Winter Carnival poster
(Poster designed by Maria O’Matz ’24)
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This year’s Winter Carnival is shaping up to be a heavenly experience.

Winterstellar: A Carnival in the Cosmos, running from Feb. 8 to 11, will include a launch party, cosmos-themed make-and-take, and Big Bang Bingo.

“Everything has been spacified,” says Kennedy Wiehle ’25, one of the Winter Carnival Council co-chairs. 

Each year, the council scopes around for a timeless, exciting theme, says Wiehle, a film major from Fort Worth, Texas. From scientific perspectives to aliens to fun movies, “space is great because there are a lot of different directions you can go in.”

The council started building momentum early, encouraging students to attend a public night-sky observation session on Jan. 27 sponsored by the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Winter Carnival “is a way for people to come together and celebrate being here at Dartmouth,” Wiehle says. “We were trying to get it on people’s radar.”

The Winterstellar schedule continues on Saturday, Feb. 3, with a snow sculpture packing party from 1 p.m. to sunset on the Green, and Winter Carnival crafting from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Collis, co-sponsored by Collis After Dark.

Dartmouth Figure Skating Club this year will again take to the ice for an exhibition, starting at 8 p.m. on Feb. 7 at Thompson Arena.

Winter Carnival weekend

The opening celebration at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8, in Collis Common Ground will feature food, live music by Exit-13, and a Q&A with professor of medicine and former astronaut Jay Buckey.

The launch party is a chance “to congregate and get excited about the weekend,” Wiehle says.

It will be followed by Wintergalactic Trivia at 9 p.m., presented by Collis Governing Board.

On Friday, Feb. 9, carnival goers can get creative with poster printing at 11 a.m. at the Book Arts Workshop, enjoy a broomball tournament on the rink on the Green at 3 p.m., and warm up with cookies and cocoa from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Roth Center.

The human dogsled and snowshoe races on the Green will take off at 4 and 4:30 p.m., respectively. The competitions were moved up to Friday because of the weather.

The polar bear swim on Occom Pond was canceled because of thin ice.

Saturday, Feb. 10, will include the ice sculpture contest, with carving underway all day on the lawns of Collis, Robinson, and McNutt, followed by voting at 4 p.m. and awards at 5 p.m. outside Robinson Hall.

On top of that, thanks to Zorbs—aka giant human hamster balls—people can pilot their personal planets around the cosmos of the Green from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Dartmouth students receive free tickets to a Hop Film screening that night of Interstellar, an epic story of space travel and human destiny, at 7 p.m. in Loew Theater. The day’s festivities wrap up with laser tag at 10 p.m. in Sarner Underground, sponsored by Collis After Dark.

On Sunday, Feb. 11, students can take part in a Dragon Parade, part of a Lunar New Year celebration sponsored by the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Registration is open for the parade, which will wind its way through Hanover that afternoon.

Dartmouth will also host Winter Carnival ski races on Feb. 9 and 10 at Oak Hill Touring Center and the Dartmouth Skiway. Undergraduates can take advantage of the snow with a free lift ticket for the Skiway on Thursday or Sunday.

An enduring tradition

Over the decades, students have memorialized Winter Carnival themes with original artwork. Samuel Miller ’24 created this year’s winning T-shirt design, and Rachel Huang ’27 designed the sticker. The winning poster by Maria O’Matz ’24 envisions skaters in front of Shattuck Observatory.

While the themes change every year, the enduring cold-weather tradition has remained firmly rooted in Granite State soil.

“I think what is unique about Winter Carnival among Dartmouth’s ‘big weekends’ is that it is so deeply connected to this place, to our location in New England,” says David Pack, director of student involvement at the Collis Center for Student Involvement.

“The annual weekend invites students to see winter not only as something to be survived, but to be enjoyed and celebrated.”

Aimee Minbiole