It’s every Blowing Rock resident’s favorite time of year! This year, WinterFest turns 20 years old and is jam-packed with crazy fun events for the whole family. The history of Blowing Rock NC is one that begins in the 1800s, when the first family settled on what would become the Green Park Hotel. This charming town is tucked away in the foothills of Blue Ridge Mountain, and was named one of America’s Prettiest Winter Towns by Travel & Leisure magazine.
WinterFest made its first debut in January 1998, with Chilly the snowman and his wife Crystal as mascots. Events include wine tasting, live music, ice sculptures, a dog show, and the infamous Polar Plunge where residents jump into a partially frozen lake while wearing a zany costume. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Blowing Rock NC, look no further than the following Blowing Rock NC activities:
Thursday January 25th
· WinterFeast – Are you ready to sample small plates from 15 different restaurants prepared by the best chefs in Blowing Rock? The event has sold out for the past five WinterFests, so call the Blowing Rock Chamber and make a reservation for your party now! Winterfeast will take place from 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm at the Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock (185 Chetola Lake Drive Blowing Rock, NC 28605) with three different available seating times: 5:30 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:00 pm. The cost is $35 per person.
· Doodlebug Club at BRAHM – Are you a parent or guardian with a preschool-aged child? Doodlebug Club (10:30 am – 11:30 am | Blowing Rock Art & History Museum 159 Chestnut Street Blowing Rock, NC 28605) is an educational dedicated to developing basic art skills such as recognizing the primary colors, holding a paintbrush or a pair of scissors the correct and safe way, and introducing them to easy mediums like watercolors and clay. The cost is $5 per person, and is free for Museum members, but space is limited. Call 828-295-9099 or email Jennifer@blowingrockmuseum.org to reserve your spot today.
Friday January 26th
· WinterFest Ice Stroll – Take a tour of beautiful Blowing Rock and see all of the gorgeous ice sculptures created by Travis Dale, owner of Artisan Ice Sculptures and one of only five Master Ice Carvers in the United States. Most Blowing Rock NC activities are a free events. This one will take place from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm and the sculptures are at the following locations: Vincent Properties -989 Main St, Blowing Rock Market – 990 Main St., neaco – 1053 Main St., Blowing Rock Properties – 1059 Main St.,The Best Cellar – 203 Sunset Dr., The Spice & Tea Exchange – 1087 Main St., Sunset Tees & Hattery – 1117 Main St., Six Pence Pub – 1121 Main St., Hanna’s – 1123 Main St., Premiere Sotheby’s International Realty – 1127 Main St., SouthMarke Shops – 1179 Main St., Town Tavern – 1182 Main St.
· WinterFest JazzFest at Green Park Inn – The Todd Wright Trio will perform from 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm in the Chestnut Grille, the original Grand Ballroom. There is no cost to attend, and full food and beverage services are available with six entrees priced below $20. The Green Park Inn is located at 9239 Valley Blvd. Blowing Rock, NC 28605.
Saturday January 27th
· Polar Plunge at Chetola – Wanna plunge? The Polar Plunge in Chetola Lake is one of the most popular events at WinterFest. Take a dive and let the rush of icy cold water make you feel alive. The event will hosted by WBTV news anchor John Carter and judges will award the “Golden Plunger” to the best costume. Day-of registration and check-in begins at 9am, but pre-registration is encouraged. The event will take place at Chetola Resort (195 Chetola Lake Drive) and participants, or plungers, will gather in the indoor pool area at 9:30 am for a safety speech, followed by the annual march to Chetola Lake. The official plunge starts at 10am, but onlookers should arrive early to find good a spot to watch. There will be a brunch from 10am – noon in Timbers Room, and will feature a live feed of the Polar Plunge, drink specials, and special brunch menu. All proceeds will benefit local charities.
· Silent Auction & Raffle – Are you interested in bidding on lodging at area hotels, spa day packages, and outdoor adventures, theatre memberships, artwork by local artists, gift certificates to your restaurants, and more – all for a good cause? The Blowing Rock WinterFest Silent Auction & Raffle will take place from 10am – 4pm at the Blowing Rock American Legion behind the Police Station on Wallingford Street. Buy raffle tickets for gift baskets from your favorite shops and enjoy bidding on over $20,000 worth of items from over 200 businesses. Proceeds go directly to Mountain Alliance, an organization that aids Watauga County high school aged youth.
Sunday January 28th
· Winterfest Beer Garden – Don’t hibernate, celebrate! The 2nd Annual WinterFest Beer Garden will take place at the Inn at Ragged Gardens (165 Morris Street Blowing Rock, NC 28605), and will included over 20 different beer vendors. Local and regional breweries will offer samples of their “Hops and Barely Pops” along with delicious snacks like fire-roasted brats and warm pretzels, and patrons can play Snowball Cornhole or Tipsy Tower. All attendees will receive a commemorative WinterFest pint glass, and must be 21 or older with a picture ID.
· WinterPaws Dog Show – Do you have a pretty pooch? Here’s more things to do in Blowing Rock NC – Sign up for the WinterPaws dog show! There is a $5 entry fee per category or $25 for all six categories. Categories include Most Unique Looking Mix of Breeds, Best Wiggle Butt, Most Clever Dog Trick, Cutest Looking Dog in the World, and Best Winter Fashion Wear. The winner from each category goes to compete for the Grand Prize, and the title of Best In Show. Don’t have a dog? No problem. There will be several shelter dogs on-site who are up for adoption. 100% of proceeds go to the Watauga Humane Society. The show is located in the Blowing Rock Elementary School gym (165 Morris Street) and registration at the door begins at 12:00 pm.
This is a fun weekend event for residents of The Coves Mountain River Club, who are only a half-hour drive away. Western North Carolina is one of the prettiest places to be during winter, as residents never run out of fun and exciting things to do. Embark on a romantic getaway to a ski resort where skiing is available at night and under the stars. Roast marshmallows around a campfire, enter a competition for who can make the most delicious and sweetest hot chocolate.
Take your children sledding, ice skating, or even snowboarding. Have a snowball fight, or build your own igloo. Sample Apple Cider Bourbon, or learn how to make your own Cinnamon Bourbon Hot Toddy. There’s nothing better than gazing up at the stars and watching the moon rise over the snow-covered mountains. Wintertime in Western North Carolina is something truly magical.
If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.