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Newton community unites for a weekend of joyful events at Winterfest

Ann Labrache
The Northern Lights a capella group poses for a photo after their first show of the year at Winterfest Sunday, Jan. 28.

WinterFEST, an annual community event hosted by Newton Community Pride, a local non-profit, took place Saturday, Jan. 27 and Sunday, Jan. 28.

WinterFEST consisted of four free events in various locations around Newton. The events included a Winter Walk through Cold Spring Park, a Soup Social at the Hyde Community Center, WinterFEST on the Green, and a dance party at the New Art Center.

Chair of the Board for Newton Community Pride Meryl Kessler said community events “are really important because they bring people together, they show the best of our community, they provide fun and entertainment during stressful times, they show off the incredible talent in our community, and it’s just a way for us all to get out of our houses and be together.”

The event was created in 2022 as a way to bring the community together after the pandemic, according to Executive Director of Newton Community Pride Blair Lesser Sullivan. 

“It’s really picked up after the years, and we love to bring joy and bring the community together during a dreary time of the year when not a lot is happening,” said Sullivan. “All of our programs are free and open to all.”

The Winter Walk through Cold Spring Park took place Saturday morning and was in partnership with the Newton Conservators, a non-profit that advocates for Newton’s public outdoor spaces. More than 100 members of the Newton community participated, along with Olaf from Frozen.

On Saturday night, members of the community converged on Hyde Community Center for a Soup Social. 12 local restaurants donated soup for the event. “We had a wonderful Salsa band that came and played,” said Kessler. “We had some public art, we had a hula hoop dancer, so that was great.”

WinterFEST on the Green took place at the Newton Centre Green Sunday morning. The event included a variety of musical performances, including North’s a cappella groups, Melocotones and Northern Lights, as well as ZOVA Quartet, a jazz group of North students. Other performances included the a capella group B.E.A.T.S. from Boston College and Tokalli Macehualli, a Native American dance group. 

“It is really great to showcase different genres of music and talent and we had cultural performances as well as student performances and it was really just a fun event,” said Sullivan.

The weekend culminated in a dance party event at the New Arts Center, with a performance by Josh and the Jamtones, a local children’s band. Cosponsored by the New Arts Center, the event included crafts, hot chocolate, cookies, a photobooth and a visit from Frozen’s Elsa and Olaf. 

“We heard that Josh and the Jamtones were playing and were big fans of them and also my daughter Evelyn is a big Elsa and Olaf fan, and she loves art, so I think everything here was appealing to us,” said Pyng Lyn, a Newton parent. “I think she’s having a lot of fun, enjoying the music and the chocolate.”

“I think there is a lot of stress in our community right now,” said Kessler. “We hope that the events this weekend gave people the opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves and maybe forget about some of their worries or concerns, for at least a little while.”

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Savannah Bond
Savannah Bond, News Editor
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