Summer’s the time for festivals and Vermont has plenty of them. What sets these apart? There’s some calorie burning involved.
4th Annual Craft Brew Races | Stowe, May 20
The Party: We can’t imagine a better place for this national six-city tour to land than the heart of Vermont’s beer country: Stowe. The 5K run or walk starts within a few hundred feet of The Alchemist and Idletyme breweries and ends at a beer tent. Last year the event drew more than 1,400. As a reward for completing the 5K, you receive a pint glass and free entry into the beer festival where you can sample from 40 breweries, including 26 Vermont brands such as von Trapp, Frost and Citizen Cider.
The Calorie Burn: The 5K starts at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and continues on the Stowe Bike Path, which crosses a river on multiple foot bridges, finishing by the entrance to the beer festival. craftbrewraces.com
The Strolling of the Heifers | Brattleboro, June 2-4
The Party: In 2001, Vermont farmer Dwight Miller and his neighbor, Orly Munzing, dreamed up Strolling of the Heifers as a way to honor local farms. The Strolling of the Heifers still features farm tours and a parade of calves through downtown Brattleboro—but also a lot more. At the Slow Living Expo you can dance to “MOO-sic,” check out the crafts village, watch the goat Olympics, or compete in a pie baking competition. Grab five friends and join the Human Foosball Tournament (teams of six). But save your energy for Sunday with the Tour de Heifer bike ride.
The Calorie Burn: The Tour de Heifer is a 60- or 30-mile ride that follows dirt roads with minimal pavement and plenty of hills. A less challenging (but still hilly!) 15-mile country ride follows a scenic riverside route. strollingoftheheifers.com
Vermont Bike & Brew | Killington, June 9-11
The Party: New this year, Killington plays host to the first Vermont Bike & Brew festival, put on by Mountain Bike Vermont (MTBVT). “Our goal is to throw the largest downhill oriented bike festival the East Coast has ever seen,” says organizer Ryan Thibault. Start off Saturday at the Kegs n’ Eggs Breakfast followed by the critical mass ride from the top of K-1 Gondola. Compete in the Pond Cross Skinny Bridge Challenge, or enter the Whip-O Competition. Wrap up your weekend at the “Recovery Ride” on Sunday morning and the Fox ProFame Demo Tour. It’s a great chance to explore Killington’s expanding trail offerings.
The Calorie Burn: The locals’ night ride will take you through some of the best cross country trail riding in Central Vermont. Bring your lights and explore the Sherburne and Green Mountain Trails valley. Help make history by participating in Vermont’s first-ever downhill critical mass ride. The ride will go from the top of K-1 Gondola, at 4,160 feet down to Snowshed base, at 1,165 feet. killington.com
NEMBAfest at Kingdom Trails | East Burke, June 16-18
The Party: The New England Mountain Biking Festival (NEMBAfest) has become the Woodstock of mountain biking. Camp out and ride the 100 miles of Kingdom Trails. Demo the latest high-tech mountain bikes on the Outdoor Gear Exchange Demo Loop. Catch Mike Stedley, 12-time National Trials Champion and highest ranked U.S. rider at the Red Bull Bike Battle, perform his stunt show with elements of trials, street/park, and North-Shore style riding. Pedro’s will be holding clinics on bike cleaning and maintenance, and there will be women’s skills clinics for both beginner and intermediate levels. Keep the kids entertained in the kids’ ride zone with plenty of games and activities, put on by Highland Mountain Bike Park.
The Calorie Burn: Take part in Clif Bar’s Ride Zone Group Rides or Shimano night rides, a fat bike social ride on Friday night and the NEMBA Race Team Ride on Saturday. Are you an advanced rider? The Skida Tour will take place on Sunday at noon, for advanced riders only. Looking to do something other than mountain bike? There will be yoga both Saturday and Sunday mornings and an XIP Wishing Wellness Yoga session on Saturday. nembafest.com
Wanderlust | Stratton, June 22-15
The Party: Wanderlust, the groovy yoga festival that travels to sites around the world, comes back to Stratton. “Find your true north” is the theme for this weekend of yoga, meditation, music, speakers, artists and chefs. Featured music acts include St. Paul and the Broken Bones, DJ Pre and more. Attend one of the talks given by speakers such as Jillian Turecki, senior teacher at NYC’s Kula Yoga Project and Lauren Imparato, author of RETOX. Or, stop in at one of more than 20 different yoga classes.
The Calorie Burn: If the yoga classes don’t do it, head up the mountain for a brisk run. Becca Pizzi, the first American female to run 7 marathons in 7 continents in 7 days, will be leading several 7-mile runs throughout the weekend. All paces are welcome. wanderlust.com
Vermont Mountain Bike Festival | Sugarbush, July 21-22
The Party: This year marks 20 years of the Vermont Mountain Biking Festival, and with a return to Sugarbush’s Mt. Ellen. With free on-site camping for festival-goers, it promises to be a rager. The Mountain Bike Olympics will provide some entertainment for those who enjoy watching “big people doing stupid tricks, and little people doing cool tricks.” The weekend will rock with live music, BBQ’s, and access to all the downhill and cross-country trails that Sugarbush and the Mad River Valley have to offer.
The Calorie Burn: Ride Sugarbush’s downhill trails or take a clinic to improve your skills. On Sunday morning, there are limited spots open in a lift-assisted Enduro ride from the top of Lincoln Peak to the valley floor. The Mad River Valley has a 45+-mile network of trails for you to explore. vmba.org