Home News & Features News ‘HOWLfest’ in Hubbard Park Planned

‘HOWLfest’ in Hubbard Park Planned

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Aerial shot of Hubbard Park Tower. Courtesy photo

by  Alec Ellsworth

MONTPELIER — In anticipation of the upcoming three weeks of warmth we call summer here, Hubbard Park would like to announce a new family event. This July 21–23, Montpelier Parks is inviting the community to spend the weekend in Hubbard Park for the first inaugural HOWL Family Arts Festival!

What is HOWLfest?

The HOWL (Hubbard Outdoor Wilderness Living) Family Arts Festival will be a celebration of the natural world that is right in our community’s backyard. For the first time ever, Hubbard Park will open its gates for a weekend of camping for Friday and Saturday Night only. HOWLers (aka festival attendees) will be able to camp inside the park in several designated locations. In addition to camping, the weekend will feature a multitude of activities for all ages. Some of the highlights include:

Headlining bands on Friday and Saturday evenings (The Stone Cold Roosters on Friday and Mal Maiz on Saturday)

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A giant slip ‘n slide near the sledding hill

A kids ‘makerspace’

Night hikes, a hike to the mountaineers game and the pool for night swimming

Evening bonfires

Kids dance party and talent show on our new “Tuning Forks” stage.

Daytime music and Entertainment from Modern Times Theater, Mayfly, The Freedom and Unity Jazz Band, and others

Outdoor yoga, relay races, field games and other recreation.

What inspired HOWLfest?

In addition to keeping our parks well maintained and safe for visitors, the Montpelier Parks Dept. strives to engage our community with the natural world. We do this by working together with our local schools, facilitating thousands of volunteer hours and hosting three seasonal celebrations throughout the year (Enchanted Forest, Ice on Fire, and All Species Day). Our goal with HOWLfest is to complete our series of seasonal festivals by bringing the community to Hubbard Park for a weekend during the height of summer. We hope that HOWLers will bring their own creative energy to the park for the weekend and surprise each other with unexpected delights. 

What else can we expect to find at HOWLfest?

We are excited to debut the new stage that we are currently building in Hubbard Park. The stage is beautifully constructed with peeled logs using trees from the park.  It is being built by local craftsmen from Timberhomes Vermont and a lot of generous help from volunteers. We hope the stage will be a nexus for future music and creative arts inside Hubbard Park.

Throughout the weekend, there will also be fun activities for people of all ages. From music to food to games to crafting to just enjoying the great outdoors in your backyard, we think that there will be something for everyone.

How do I get there?

Many of the activities will take place at the “Old Shelter” in Hubbard Park, the structure near the top of the sledding hill. Parking will be very limited inside Hubbard Park, so we are encouraging HOWLers to walk into the festival if possible. If not, there will be free parking available at Montpelier High School where you can park and take the FREE shuttle directly to the event. A drop off inside the park will also be provided for handicapped access. In order to preserve our natural spaces and keep Montpelier Parks clean and green, this will be a “Carry-in-Carry-Out” Festival.

Tickets will be available in advance at the Clerk’s Office in City Hall, at the Hunger Mountain Coop, and throughout the weekend at the Winter Street gate to Hubbard Park. Weekend Passes will be $20 for adults, and $10 for kids. Family passes are $40. Camping will be an additional $20/night per site. Kids under the age of 5 are free!

How can I be involved?

Do you have a skill that you’d like to share with the community at HOWLfest? Do you know how to start a fire without matches? Do you want to teach people how to play the nose flute? If you want to share something as part of the festival, or have another creative idea, please contact Alec Ellsworth at aellsworth@montpelier-vt.org.

We also have a big need for volunteers during the weekend. Volunteers will get a free weekend pass to the festival and access to a special volunteer camping area. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact the Parks Eco Americorps Emily Markstein at emarkste@oswego.edu.

Thank you sponsors!

We would like to thank the sponsors who are assisting us in bringing the community together for this wonderful celebration of summer. Sponsors thus far include National Life Group, Ben & Jerry’s foundation, Vermont Mutual, Community National Bank, North Country Savings Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and the Hunger Mountain Coop. If you are affiliated with one of these sponsors stay tuned for discounted ticket opportunities!

We look forward to hosting an amazing weekend of community creativity in Hubbard Park for the first annual HOWLfest!

Tom Brown is contributing editor of The Bridge. ..... You can contact him at tom@montpelierbridge.com