By Kris Testori
BLOWING ROCK, NC– Blowing Rock’s annual WinterFest is sponsored by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, along with generous financial contributions from local businesses. “The cost of doing the event is very expensive,” said Blowing Rock Chamber’s President and CEO Charles Hardin. “Ticket sales rarely cover the expenses for these events,” he added. In addition to ensuring WinterFest happens, many WinterFest events raise money for local nonprofits.
Hardin added that while WinterFest could happen without sponsors, it would be a significantly scaled-down event. “Today’s consumers don’t want to scale down,” he said. “They expect the events to be comfortable, exciting, and as promoted. It is all about families having fun and engaging the community.”
Hendrick Luxury Group is and has been the presenting sponsor of WinterFest for many years. “At Hendrick, one of our core beliefs is ‘Family First,’ and that’s exactly what the WinterFest weekend represents,” said Brooke Ballard, community and events director for Hendrick Northlake Luxury Auto Mall. “From watching the brave souls take the Polar Bear Plunge at Chetola to marveling at the ice sculptures on the stroll while hunting for Hendrick vehicles and finishing the day with a big bowl of award-winning chili, the memories made together over this magical weekend are those to last a lifetime. We are honored to be the presenting sponsor once again in its 25th year.”
Mayor Charlie Sellers, the owner of The Blowing Rock attraction, sponsors the Polar Bear Plunge at Chetola Resort. “Growing up in Blowing Rock, our winters were very quiet, with very little for the locals and the small number of visitors to do,” Sellers said. “The Blowing Rock Chamber has developed opportunities to promote the town, and WinterFest has become very popular over the last 25 years. The Polar Bear Plunge experience, which kicks off Saturday’s activities, amounts to wearing very little clothing and jumping in water that is in the mid-30 degrees Fahrenheit. It has astonished me at the number of participants that make this pilgrimage to Chetola, paying an entry fee and jumping into the frigid water.”
Other sponsors include The Spice and Tea Exchange, which sponsors the Rotary Chilly Chili Challenge, and The Speckled Trout, which sponsors the Beer Garden.
While WinterFeast tickets are sold out for 2023, all participating restaurants donate the food for the event. The participating restaurants in the Rotary Chilly Chili Challenge also donate the cost of their food. For a full schedule of events and to purchase tickets, go to https://blowingrockwinterfest.com/ Tickets, and more information are available by calling (828) 295-7851.