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Each winter term, an annual three-day weekend celebration of the Upper Valley's beauty and charm is hosted on Dartmouth's campus, an iconic, long-lasting tradition called Winter Carnival! In honor of my first Winter Carnival experience on campus and Dartmouth's 114th year celebrating this event, I wanted to document its kick-off and the variety of activities students can participate in during this popular time of year.

With this year's Winter Carnival theme being "WINTERSTELLAR: A Carnival in the Cosmos," it is only fair to say that it took flight on the night of Friday, February 9th, with public areas on campus (including the Class of 1953 Commons and Collis Center for Student Involvement) being decked out in out-of-this-world space-themed decor. Alongside a plethora of activities like a figure skating exhibition at Thompson Area (Dartmouth's ice rink), tours of Shattuck Observatory, and intergalactic trivia planned for the first night, one of the more interesting activities was the Winter Carnival Launch Party at Collis Center. Here, live music by a student band, Exit 13, acted as a precursor to an interesting presentation by a NASA astronaut, Jay Buckey. I was enthralled in his stories of space exhibitions, and taking pictures with a friend at the photo booth afterwards served as the cherry on top of an exciting opening night.

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Jay Buckey during his presentation at Collis Center for Student Involvement.

Each year, members of the freshman class comprises the Winter Carnival Council, where the general theme, t-shirt/poster/sticker design, and activities to be added to the schedule are decided on. Kudos to the Class of 2027, because the days following the initial kick-off party were packed full of exciting activities for students to participate in on and around campus. From the popular team-based ice sculpting contest to ski team races at the Dartmouth Skiway, there was not a dull moment on campus between Friday night and Sunday evening. 

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My friend and I at the photo booth following Jay Buckey's presentation!

With the end of Dartmouth's 2024 Winter Carnival approaching, I am grateful to have finally experienced and participated in such a timeless tradition, and I can't wait to see what the incoming Class of 2028 has in store for it next year!

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