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Downtown Blowing Rock Glows Under Illuminated Lights and Ice Sculptures

Photo by Josh Floyd

By Kris Testori

Downtown Blowing Rock, already aglow with white holiday lights, became even more illuminated with the addition of a 20 feet long and six feet high sign with marquee letters spelling out Blowing Rock WinterFest. 

Cary resident Stephanie Foster said, “What an amazing addition to the WinterFest celebration. “When we pulled into town, everyone in our group, we were like, we have to take our photo in front of that sign.” She added that when she went to take the photo they had to wait several minutes to get their chance because of the crowds around the sign. 

“It was magical,” said Cathy Barker, membership director at the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce. “All weekend, crowds gathered around the sign, taking photos. It reminds us how special WinterFest is to our mountain town.” 

Barker said she noticed Friday evening that the Chambers’ social media pages were filled with posts of people taking pictures in front of the sign. “I think the sign added another interaction element with our visitors.”

The letter display was provided by Alpha-Lit High Country, Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce’s newest member.  “The owner, Ashley, created the lighting feature that became one of the biggest hits of the 2023 WinterFest,” Barker said. 

Photo by Josh Floyd

Also, anchoring the center of town, in the already light-up gazebo, were ten ice sculptures, products of Saturday’s ice carving competition in the park.  Artisan Ice lead sculptor Ann Marie Taberdo and the owner of Artisan Ice, Nathan Moran,  held five-speed ice carving competitions in Memorial Park. Blowing Rock TDA executive director Tracy Brown emceed the well-attended event.  Spectators participated by spinning a large wheel to determine what sculptures would be carved. 

“It was amazing to watch,” said attendee Julia Alexander.  “They were so methodical, yet they moved so fast. I couldn’t believe how much they could do in 15 minutes.”  She shared that her favorite sculpture was the sitting bear because it had such a level of detail. “You could see its fur,” she said.