6 Food and Drink Events at Newport Winter Festival

The ten-day Newport Winter Festival involves everything from a chili cook-off and ice bars to beer and cheese pairings.

The winter scene at Gurney’s in Newport.

The Newport Winter Festival is happening from Feb. 16 to 25 and it involves all kinds of food and drink events, as well as family-fun activities like movie nights, princess parties, live music and more. The ten-day celebration has an agenda for each day and the activities are fun for everyone from kids to couples seeking romance. Be sure to get a Winter Fest bracelet for $10 each online or at one of these locations to take advantage of deals and discounts. Here are some of the foodie events that we are looking forward to checking out.

  1. The  Mac and Cheese Smackdown

The new Gurney’s Newport resort on Goat Island is hosting the Mac and Cheese Smackdown from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with local restaurants and caterers competing to see who comes up with the best comfort food creation.  Admission is $12 per person or $9 with a Winter Fest Bracelet. Children ages four to ten are $8 each or $5 with a bracelet, and kids younger than four are free.

The Chili Cook-off at Newport Winter Festival.

2. Polar Pineapples Ice Bar at Gurney’s

Gurney’s resort also has an ice bar where guests can sip cocktails outdoors and soak up the surrounding waterfront views on Fridays and Saturdays during the festival from 3 to 9 p.m. There are eleven fire pits for people to warm up from the chill air. Festival-goers can get a free hot cider with a Winter Fest bracelet. Gurney’s is also kicking off Newport Restaurant Week early at Scarpetta with a three-course prix fixe menu available starting on Feb. 15 for $45 per person with optional wine pairings for an additional cost.

3. Snowball Cocktails and Cozy Cocktail Den at Grace Vanderbilt

The posh Grace Vanderbilt Hotel is featuring some fun cocktail events daily from 4 p.m., including snowball- and cocktail-making. Hand the bartender a snowball and watch cocktails be poured over them.  Drinks include the Winter Spritzer with Aperol, cranberry liqueur, orange bitters, Prosecco and soda, and the Small Chills made with gin, orange bitters, bergamot, blood orange, Prosecco and more. Winter Fest guests with a bracelet will get free s’mores with a cocktail purchase ($16 to $18 each). From 5 to 6 p.m., the Grace Vanderbilt terrace becomes a cozy cocktail den with s’mores and warmed cocktails like buttered rum, spiked hot chocolate, mulled wine and more, outside by the fire.

4. Rhody Beer and Cheese Pairing

There are beer and cheese events with Newport Storm and Narragansett Creamery happening at the brewery. Five local brews will be paired with five different cheeses from the local cheesemaker for $17 per person with a Winter Fest bracelet, or $20 without. Arrive fifteen minutes before the start time. There are two dates left, including Sat., Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. and Sun., Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. Buy tickets in advance. Twenty-one-plus only.

5. Seafood Winter Fest

La Forge Casino, at 186 Bellevue Ave., is hosting an all-you-can-eat seafood spread on Feb. 24 from 4 to 6 p.m., including King crab legs, shrimp cocktail, local oysters, lobster, linguini and clams, lobster bisque, shrimp scampi, steamed mussels, clam chowder and more! The cost is $65 per person, or 15 percent off with a Winter Fest bracelet. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com.

The ice bar at the Hotel Viking.

6. Fire and Ice Bar and Ice Cream Bar at the Hotel Viking

From Feb. 16 to 24 (except Feb. 18), visit the Hotel Viking’s courtyard for an ice bar and fire pits from 4 to 8 p.m. Sip craft beer by Devil’s Purse Brewery and cocktails by Keel Vodka, as well as food from A La Caja China grill. This will be a cash bar. Inside, there is an Ice Cream Sundae Bar in the Viking Ballroom available from 1 to 3 p.m. on Feb. 23 and 24. It’s free with a Winter Fest bracelet and $5 without.

And of course, we can’t forget the Newport Burger Bender: Thirty different restaurants are serving their own burger creations, and diners can vote for their favorite. The Newport Winter Festival also involves lots of fun family activities like movie nights, princess parties, beach polo, live music and more. Check out the full schedule of events.



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