Winter Carnival Begins As the "First Field Day of the Outing Club"

Held every February since 1911 (except during World Wars I and II), the iconic event was created by undergraduates.

What Dartmouth event inspired a Hollywood movie, triggered an eight-mile traffic jam on the roads leading into Hanover in 1952, and was called “the Mardi Gras of the North” by National Geographic? If you guessed Winter Carnival, you are correct!

Created in 1910 at the suggestion of Dartmouth Outing Club founder Fred Harris, Class of 1911, what began as the “first field day of the Outing Club,” has grown over its 100-plus years into one of Dartmouth’s most cherished traditions. The event has received TV coverage from NBC’s Today Show among others, and attracted such notable visitors as author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who traveled to Hanover in 1939 to write the screenplay for Winter Carnival with Budd Schulberg ’36.

Winter Carnival has evolved over the years, with events coming and going, such as a formal dance that is no longer held and the addition of a community-wide Occom Pond Party. But one thing remains constant about Winter Carnival: It is still one of the country’s great cold weather celebrations, as National Geographic Traveler noted in 2012.

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