On Tuesday, February 27th, an unseasonably warm day, the Blue Hills Ski Area at the Blue Hills Reservation was buzzing with excitement. Winterfest, a highly anticipated yearly event, took center stage. This event, which brings together local lovers of the Blue Hills, was a vibrant celebration of the end of winter and community spirit among members of the organization and people just learning about the Friends.

Tasty Chili Takes Center Stage

One of the highlights of Winterfest was the highly anticipated chili contest, featuring top-notch creations from local kitchens. The Fours (Quincy), Northern Spy (Canton), and Orchard Cove (Canton) went head-to-head-to-head, each vying for the title of Blue Hills chili champion. Almost 150 Winterfest revelers had the delightful task of sampling and voting for their favorite, adding an element of friendly competition to the festivities. A special judges panel consisting of local legislators like Senator Walter Timilty and Canton Select Board member John McCourt participated in the judging. Northern Spy and Orchard Cove came out as the winners of this year’s heated competition, taking home the judges’ choice and people’s choice awards, respectively.

Yes, the Slopes Were Open!

Some attendees took advantage of discounted ski tickets, rentals and lessons by taking to the slopes just outside the ski lodge doors. The Blue Hills Ski Area provided the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventure and leisurely exploration, with enthusiasts of all skill levels hitting the trails to soak up the winter sunshine–or shush down the slopes after dark.

“It was hilarious watching the short sleeved skiers come down the hill. First things first, need to say that. But it was so nice seeing the community come together, everyone from all over coming to the ski area. It was so unseasonably warm, and everyone was so excited to be there. I was able to meet Jen Klein, the new executive director. She was awesome, and she really represents the organization’s values. The Friends of the Blue Hills has a great group of members!” —Nicole Rinnig with sponsor Orchard Cove

Live Music Makes It Extra Festive

Adding to the festive atmosphere was the lively music provided by the band Songs for Ceilidh who serenaded the crowd with spirited Irish tunes–and has been a staple of Winterfest for years. Their infectious melodies set the tone for an evening of joy and camaraderie, as attendees tapped their feet along to the beat.

Creativity at the Arts & Crafts Table

For the younger members of the Blue Hills community, Winterfest offered crafts and activities to enjoy. From coloring to winter-themed art projects, there was plenty to enjoy if you were looking for creativity. Many kids illustrated their favorite place in the Blue Hills with colorful drawings that were posted on the wall for all to see.

Volunteers Make It All Happen

A special mention goes to the students from Bishop Feehan High School and Friends of the Blue Hills members who volunteered their time and energy to ensure that Winterfest ran smoothly. Their dedication and enthusiasm were instrumental in making the event a success. You may have seen them shepherding people through sign in, helping out at the craft table, and having a hand in clean up. Their efforts were greatly appreciated by all.

Thank You to our Partners and Special Guests

Huge thanks go out to sponsors Morgan Stanley: McGowan Group and Orchard Cove for their support of the event and the Norfolk County Sheriff’s office for setting up a table and talking with community members.

Of course, no winter celebration would be complete without a selection of delicious beverages to warm the soul. Widowmaker Brewing (Braintree and Brighton) was on hand to provide their signature craft beers, much to the delight of attendees.

At the end of the night, Winterfest at Blue Hills Ski Area was more than just a day of skiing and chili tasting. It was a testament to the power of community, bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate the joys of winter and the beauty of the Blue Hills Reservation. Until next year, Winterfest will remain a cherished tradition, eagerly anticipated by all who love the Blue Hills.