By Madison Fisler Lewis
Jan. 9, 2015. Blowing Rock’s 18th annual WinterFest starts next week, and that means tons of exciting events for the entire family are coming your way. Join the town of Blowing Rock for an extended weekend of spectacular events, including live music, competitions, charity drives and much more.
“There definitely is something for everyone at WinterFest,” said Billie Rogers, events coordinator for the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce.
“The whole ‘weekend’ starts on Wednesday and we have got great events that are going on the whole time. If you are a couple, you can enjoy the wine tasting and auction. We have also got the winter fashion show if you want to have a girls day. WinterFeast is for all the foodies out there where you can taste from 15 different restaurants. Then, we have got the ice carving that is world class! If you are looking for something to warm your heart, head to the Little Miss WinterFest Pageant, they are so cute and so sweet. And then you have the dog show on Sunday if you are a dog person, or even if you’re not. It’s really a great time for everyone, there’s no reason to stay inside!”
Check out our updated calendar to see what WinterFest has in store for you this year, and make it an extended weekend to remember.
The schedule of events is as follows:
All Weekend Long
High Country Small Plate Crawl: Boone Independent Restaurants (BIR) announces the 2015 High Country Small Plate Crawl and partnership with Blowing Rock’s Winterfest. The Crawl kicks off Winterfest on Wednesday, Jan. 21 and runs through Sunday, Jan. 25. Crawl from restaurant to restaurant, sampling the best of the High Country’s culinary scene. Participating restaurants will offer special Small Plate Menus priced from $3-8 showcasing their cuisine and the chef’s talent. Each restaurant welcomes crawlers all three days during the same block of time: breakfast, lunch and dinner hours from 7-9 p.m. See details on the crawl website at www.platecrawl.com/passport.
Shop ’til You Drop: From 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day on Jan. 22-25, shop Blowing Rock’s downtown shops and the Tanger Outlet Shoppes on the Parkway and enjoy one of North Carolina’s best and most beautiful shopping destinations.
Wednesday, Jan. 21
Roots Restaurant Wine Dinner: Roots Restaurant will host a four course dinner with wine pairings featuring Franciscan Estates Wines from Nappa Valley. Cost for the dinner is $100 per person, all inclusive, and admission also includes a $20 gift certificate for participants to use on another future visit to the Roots Restaurant. Seating is limited and reservations are required. For reservations, call 828-414-9508.
Thursday, Jan. 22
WinterFeast: Restaurants all around the area will participate in this WinterFest flagship event. The night will feature a delicious dinner prepared for participants by the best of the Blowing Rock chefs with seatings at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. at Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Resort. Tickets for the event are $27 in advance and $32 at the door with a cash bar available. Participating restaurants this year include: Timberlake’s Restaurant, Canyons, Blowing Rock Ale House, The Best Cellar, The Chestnut Grille at the Green Park Inn, Meadowbrook Inn, Foggy Rock, The Table at Crestwood, Bald Guy Brew, Bistro Roca, Restaurant G, The New Public House, Stick Boy Bread Company, Rowlands Restaurant at Westglow Resort and Spa, Six Pence Pub, Twigs and Woodlands Barbeque. A special WinterFeast after party will be held at Twigs with live music from 8 p.m. until midnight with no cover charge.
Friday, Jan. 23
WinterFashion Show: At 11 a.m., WinterFest will feature a special WinterFashion Show where Blowing Rock retailers bring in the finest in local fashion and accessories. Participating outfitters include Doncaster, Monkee’s of Blowing Rock, TazMaRaz, Couture by Finley House, JW Tweeds and others. The runway will be filled with wonderful fashions at 11:30 a.m. with doors at 11 a.m. Following the show, a ladies lunch of soup, salad, quiche and desserts will be offered. Tickets are available at the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce or online here.
Cork and Canvas: The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM) will host a Cork and Canvas Event from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. where participants can enjoy delicious wines while creating a painted masterpiece with the supervision of a talented instructor. No experience is necessary and all materials are provided. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served. Tickets are $30 per person and $25 for BRAHM members. Preregistration is required at 828-295-9099.
WinterFest Family Night: Appalachian Ski Mtn will host a WinterFest Family Night event on the slopes on Jan. 23 where learn to ski and snowboard packages will be offered with special pricing. The event will also include an ice skating session with s’mores by the rink side bonfire. For more information call the French-Swiss Ski College at 828-295-9311. This is a great event for the entire family to enjoy.
Saturday, Jan. 24
Polar Plunge at Chetola Resort: What sounds like crazy is apparently a whole lot of fun for tons of residents and visitors to the High Country every single year. Blowing Rock’s WinterFest celebration provides the backdrop to the annual Polar Plunge, where costumed citizens leap from the dock into a freezing cold Chetola Lake — for a good cause of course. One of the most highly anticipated events of the annual WinterFest festival, the Polar Plunge is a sight to see for those who aren’t brave enough to brave the icy cold depths. Participants jump in costumes or themed clothing and spend weeks perfecting their best one-liner before the event begins at 10 a.m. And it isn’t just a show of fortitude either. These jumpers are hoping for a shot at winning the big time. The prize, the Golden Plunger, is highly sought after by repeat-plungers and comes with its fair share of bragging rights. For more information about the Polar Plunge, click here.
Equipment Exhibition: From 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Blowing Rock Realty and SweetGrass will host a cross-country ski and snowboard equipment exhibition at SweetGrass in Blowing Rock. But this event is more than just an equipment showcase. The event, which will offer free admission to all participants, will also include a snowdog building contest, games and prizes and delicious hot chocolate and cookies. For more information, call 828-295-9861.
Hayrides: The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce will offer free hayrides starting at 10 a.m. The hayrides are a crowd favorite for the festival and will take off from the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce office located at 132 Park Avenue.
Silent Auction and Raffle: The silent auction and raffle will be held in the Blowing Rock School Cafeteria from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The raffle will start at 10 a.m. while the silent auction will conclude at 4 p.m. This event is sponsored by Mountain Alliance and will feature more than $20,000 worth of items from hundreds of local businesses. Proceeds from this event go directly to Mountain Alliance, which assists Watauga County high school youth.
Chilly Chili Cookoff Challenge: Now hosted by the Blowing Rock School PTO, the yearly chili cook-off between restaurants, freestyle cooks and proclaimed chili-masters is hot competition indeed, with many different entrants preparing their honed recipes to take home the top prize. The event annually draws a huge crowd to try all of the different chili offered by the fierce competition. There will be three categories in the competition, from freestyle, to business, and restaurant categories, and chili gurus will face fierce competition for the top prize. There will also be a “People’s Choice Award” so make sure to come out and vote for your favorites while supporting a great cause. The event will take place from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium. For more information about this event, click here.
Kids Activities: WinterFest really is an event that is great for the entire family to enjoy. For the kids, visit the Blowing Rock Parks and Recreation Center located beside Memorial Park starting at 11 a.m. for fun activities hosted by the High Country Girl Scouts. All activities are free, and parents will be able to purchase Girl Scout Cookies while attending.
Ice Carving Competition: Now here is an event that is the definition of cool! Starting at 12 p.m. at Memorial Park, the U.S. Army Special Forces Ice Carving Team will turn ordinary blocks of ice into stunning works of art right before your eyes. The event will continue until 4 p.m. and is free to attend.
Little Miss WinterFest Pageant: The annual Little Miss WinterFest Pageant will take place starting at 1 p.m. at the Meadowbrook Inn and Suites. Cost of admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children over the age of three. A portion of the registration fees will go toward the Blowing Rock Elementary School PTo to help renovate the Blowing Rock School’s playground. Following the event, all contestants and audience members are invited to attend Cocoa with Elsa!
Wine Tasting and Charity Auction: The annual Wine Tasting and Charity Auction will be held at the Green Park Inn beginning at 2 p.m. with the auction taking place at 4 p.m. Tickets for this event are $22 in advance and $27 at the door. Wines available for tasting include wines from Oregon, Washington, Spain and Nappa Valley. Tickets can be purchased here.
Music at the Museum: Starting at 3 p.m., guests can enjoy live music featuring the stylings of Strictly Strings, an old-time local band from Boone. The event will conclude at 3:45 p.m.
Arctic Art at the BRAHM: The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum will offer a winter craft event in the Education Center from 3-4 p.m. For more information, call 828-295-9099.
Bonfire: Starting at 5 p.m., weather permitting, a bonfire night will be held at Memorial Park presented by the Boy Scouts. Sing along to campfire tunes, toast marshmallows and make s’mores. The event of course is free to attend.
Sunday, Jan. 25
Winter Paws Dog Show: In what might just be one of the cutest events ever to grace WinterFest, the WinterPaws Dog Show will be held starting at 1:30 p.m. at the Blowing Rock Elementary School Gymnasium. Admission for spectators is by donation with a $2 minimum. Registration will begin at the door at 12:45 p.m., so bring your pooch and see if he has what it takes to win the grand prize! For more information, call 828-414-9012.
Crestwood Meet and Greet: The Spa at Crestwood will host a Meet and Greet from 2-5 p.m. The event is offered free of charge and will feature an afternoon of light refreshments from the Table at Crestwood as well as guided tours of the facility. Therapists and estheticians will be available to answer questions and teach participants about services.
Check out photos from previous WinterFest events.
Photos by Todd Bush