Winter Carnival: A Brewster Tradition Turns 100!

Winter Carnival: A Brewster Tradition Turns 100!
Beth Hayes

Brewster’s Winter Carnival tradition began 100 years ago, on February 22, 1922, when the Academy first took part in Wolfeboro’s Winter Carnival event. The somewhat bleak season was the ideal time to celebrate school and community spirit amid the beauty of New Hampshire's winter. What had been an annual school sleigh ride behind draft horses charging through the snow with steam rising from their thick winter coats evolved into a week of outdoor competitions, which included skiing, hockey, snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice skating, tobogganing, and snow sculptures. 

Broomball and ice skating races were all-time favorite Winter Carnival activities in the 1940s. And yes, this is a REAL sport to this day!

By the 1940s, a seasonal ice rink was created on campus on the south side of the Academic Building, where broom hockey and skating races thrilled spectators. By 1961, the snow sculpture competition among the dorms was the most anticipated Winter Carnival event. That winter, one of the most impressive and memorable snow sculptures ever created on Brewster’s campus was a massive piece depicting Mount Rushmore. In addition to representing the original four presidents on the monument, the boys of Furber House added the face of then-president John F. Kennedy and earned the coveted first prize. Word got out that Brewster took snow sculptures seriously, and in 1966 the local Lion’s Club invited Brewster students to take part in their Winter Carnival, where Brown Hall won first place for a snow sculpture depicting an entire team of huskies pulling a dog sled. 

The boys of Furber House won first prize in the 1961 Winter Carnival snow sculpture contest with their frozen creation of Mount Rushmore. In addition to representing U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, these talented students included the image of President John F. Kennedy.

In 1966, the boys of Brown Hall took first place for their spirited snow sculpture of huskies pulling a dog sled. Other entries that year included a toothy monster, Carnival King, and a very tall rectangle that we think must have become something spectacular!

Sargent Hall outdid themselves in 1967 with their enormous Paul Bunyan snow sculpture which narrowly missed first place to the majestic lion on a snowmobile. 

Former faculty member Dave Golden '67 shares a story about the year the students from Sargent Hall came in second place behind Brown dorm:

As the years passed, new events and challenges were included in Winter Carnival festivities. Teams of students and faculty competed in snow-scooter racing, snowball-archery, human sled races, bicycling in the snow, and building an enormous snowball and pushing it across what is now DeWolf Field. Indoor events also became more popular, and included Pictionary, team spirit days, tug-o-war in the gym, and the renowned lip-sync competition at the week’s end. 

Winter Carnival is nearly upon us, and the thrills and joy it has brought to campus for a century are building once again. This time of year, when the winds are quiet and the night is still, and if you listen very carefully, you just might hear echoes of laughter, shouts of joy, skates cutting into the ice, and the whoosh of toboggans. We are excited to continue the beloved traditions of Winter Carnival and usher them into the next 100 years!

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