It HAS certainly been WINTER around here for the last week and some change and according to meteorologists that string of cold and snowy weather will continue through at LEAST Friday, January 25th and that is good news to those who are putting on the Blowing Rock Winterfest which runs from Thursday the 24th through Sunday the 27th. There’s even a chance for some light wintry precip over this coming weekend, so that too will be good news to those planning and those attending the tenth annual event.
The most notable event during the 4 day event is unquestionable the Polar Plunge and because of the frigid temps for that last week – combined with the frigid temps for this coming week – we should see a more "Polar" look to that event with contestants actually diving and jumping into the icy waters of Chetola Lake. (We’ll have our LIVE CAM aimed and zoomed in so if you can’t be there…watch it online!) Click here> Blowing Rock Chetola Cam!
<Huge crowds attend the Polar Plunge!
There’s a lot more to the festival than just a bunch of looney, crazy, frozen lake jumpers!
For 10 years Blowing Rock Winterfst organizers have been throwing a four-day party that has drawn both locals and tourists from around the Southeast and into the High Country’s quaint little village of Blowing Rock.
From January 24 to 27, the 10th Annual Winterfest will again take over the town of Blowing Rock as people are invited to watch expert ice carving, attend nightly bonfires, sip some fine wine (or hot chocolate!), eat chili, enjoy daily hayrides and just enjoy a winter day in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
Thursday’s schedule is basically a late afternoon/evening WinterFEAST – enjoying a fabulous display of culinary delights from some of the best restaurants in the Blowing Rock area! Call 828-295-9627 for advance reservations as seatings for this kickoff to Winterfest are at 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, 7:00 and 7:30pm. (Tell them SkiNC sent you!)
Friday offers afternoon and evening "Winter Movies" at the Hayes Performing Arts Center. Admission is $5. There’s free hayrides beginning at 3pm and free hot chocolate in downtown Blowing Rock. At dusk, you’ll want to attend the bonfire. This event is weather dependent, but again as of this post, the weather looks CLEAR AND COLD with lows near 22° for Friday night! (Just right for a bonfire!)
At 7:30pm Friday there’s a Winterfest Blues Bash with hot blues music from Chitlin Circuit legend Chick Willis, NC folk blues master, Big Ron Hunter and the High Country’s very own King Bees at the Hayes Performing Arts center.
Saturday is when the "real" fun begins as at 10:00am they have childrens activities that will take place within the parks adn rec area behind the Memorial Park.
At 9:00am there is a raffle and silent auction for a chance to win some sweet prizes at the Blowing Rock School Cafeteria on Morris Street.
THEN – at 10:00am – THE P-O-L-A-R Plunge!
You really won’t want to miss this event as contenders take the icy plunge into Chetola Lake dressed up in all sorts of nutty outfits. Guys dressed as girls, girls dressed as…well you get the picture. The fee to jump is $25. (I thought they’d pay US to jump!) Just kidding…and there IS a liability form to fill out!
10:00 : Also at 10am if you prefer, you can take in a free hayride, free hot chocolate and there’s all sorts of kid’s activities till 4pm.
<Is that the "Three Mile Island Chili…or the Smooth as A Baby’s Behind variety?!?
Another hugely popular event is the Chili Cook-Off that takes place from 11am until 2pm and there’s no better way to beat the cold weather as restaurants and local chili connoisseurs serve up some chili that is sure to delight. cooks bring it on from smooth to chuncky, spicy to mild and simply downright delicious! You can purchase tickets at the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce or online at www.BlowingRockWinterfest.com
At noon on Saturday there’s an Ice craving Comp where you can see some of the best in the business turn varying sized blocks of ice into amazing works of art.
At 2pm there’s a wine tasting at the Meadowbrook Inn (again you can buy tix online or at the Chamber.)
4pm: There’s a wine auction where an amazing selection of fine wines that will be auctioned off and this is a popular event as well so get there early.
At 7:30pm Saturday night is a Winterfest Concert with the John Cowan Band. Cowan’s performances offer acoustical music and will delight fans of bluegrass and country. That will be held at the Hayes Performing Arts Center.
…at Dusk (again weather permitting) there will be another bonfire! (There is a chance of rain that evening so…stay tuned.)
The final day of Winterfest will start off with a pancake breakfast with all of the trimmings at the Blowing Rock School Cafeteria. Again get tix online or at the Chamber.
1pm is more Freebie Hayrides and Hot Chocolate…and a final ice carving demonstration.
All four days is loaded with fun, but from early in the morning until late in the evening, Saturday is Winterfest’s busiest, most action-packed day.
For a look at all that Winterfest has to offer, click to www.blowingrockwinterfest.com or call Charles Hardin at the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce at 828-295-7851…and please tell him that you read about it on SkiNC.com!