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There’s Still Time to Get Involved with WinterFest’s Polar Plunge and Chilly Chili Cookoff This Week

by Madison V. Fisler

Jan. 21, 2014. Blowing Rock’s WinterFest 2014 is almost here, and if you’re like many in the High Country, it can’t get here fast enough!

Blowing Rock’s annual Winterfest celebration has come to be known as one of the premier winter events in the High Country. The yearly celebration is a family friendly affair that celebrates the cold winter of the High Country with tons of exciting winter activities for the whole family to enjoy Jan. 23-26. 

But if you think it’s too late to get involved in all of the winter fun, you’re in for a winter surprise!

One of the most exciting parts of the WinterFest Celebration is the annual Chilly Chili Challenge. This year, however, the challenge is being put on by Blowing Rock Elementary School.

“The Blowing Rock School needs to raise $75,000 for new playground equipment for the kids,” said Billie Rogers, event coordinator at the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, the entity that usually puts on the Chili Cookoff.

“We gave this event to the Blowing Rock School so they could use it to raise money for the school.”

The Chilly Chili Challenge will kick of Jan. 25 at 11 a.m. 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 competition annually draws a crowd of more than 1,000 people 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 people’s choice award is a fantastic way for citizens to get involved in the fiery competition. Don’t forget to stop by and try all the delicious creations and cast your vote! And if you have a great recipe of your own that you want to enter for a chance to win top prize, there’s still time!

Registration for the Chilly Chili Challenge are being accepted up until the day of the event. Interested parties can contact Kevin Tincher at tltincher@bellsouth.net or by calling 606-224-1568. For general information, contact the PTO at blowingrockpto@gmail.com 

And for the more daring, there is the annual Polar Plunge at Chetola Lake, which will take place on Saturday, Jan. 25. On Saturday, thousands of spectators will surround Chetola Lake in anticipation of the dozens of Polar Plungers who will leap from the dock into a hole cut into the ice dressed in zany costumes. All for a good cause, of course.

The Plungers are jumping for the Watauga Humane Society and Western Youth Network this year, and organizers are expecting a big turnout despite the frigid temperatures expected this weekend. 

And the best part of the Polar Plunge? No preregistration is necessary! 

Registration for the Polar Plunge will begin on site at 9 a.m. Come out in your favorite costume to try and take home the Golden Plunger and meet up with the new emcee John Carter. Or, for the less daring, come and support your favorite plunger as they leap into the frigid waters for a cause. 

For more information, or to register for the Polar Plunge, click here