Family Fun Fest draws hundreds of attendees

Photo by KATHY CLEVELAND Scott Reiff gives the thumbs-up after one of his children sleds down Bragdon Hill in Amherst. The Windham family was here for LaBelle Winery’s annual Winter Family Fun Fest on Feb. 18.

AMHERST – Jed Warner was one of the lucky ones. He and his daughter, Audrey, went early enough to LaBelle Winery’s annual Winter Family Fun Fest that they were able to get a parking space.

His brother, who lives nearby, wasn’t so lucky.

The event started at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, and by 11:40, LaBelle was out of parking spaces. Cars went east to the parking lot for the Bragdon sledding hill, which also ran out of parking.

This was the winery’s fifth annual winter festival, and it set an attendance record with more than 600 people, said Michelle Thornton, who handles publicity for LaBelle.

It was no wonder. The weather couldn’t have been better, with warm sunshine on a thick blanket of snow.

Photo by KATHY CLEVELAND Roisin McElroy, of the Beaver Brook Association in of Hollis, talks with Jed Warner and his daughter, Audrey, of Bow, during LaBelle Winery’s annual Winter Family Fun Fest on Feb. 18. Beaver Brook had one of the several booths set up in LaBelle’s ballroom.

Outside, there were vineyard tours on snowshoes, a big bonfire and free maple sugar snow cups.

Inside, there were box lunches, craft-making and other activities for kids, including face-painting by students from the New Hampshire Institute of Art.

There was also music, a photo booth, canvas painting and liquid nitrogen ice cream.

“Everybody was having such a good time,”Thornton said.

LaBelle was opened in 2012 on Route 101 by Amy LaBelle and her husband, Cesar Arboleda. They have plans to expand across the road, with a 24-room inn, a distillery, a brewery and more vineyards.

Photo by KATHY CLEVELAND Adysen Spencer, 5, of Loudon, and Kyla Boutot, 4, of Londonderry, enjoy the warmth of a bonfire during LaBelle Winery’s annual Winter Family Fun Fest on Feb. 18.