Wednesday, January 30, 2019

WinterFest 2019 Brought Sunshine and Large Crowds

The 21st annual WinterFest started off with a blast on Thursday night with a sold-out crowd parading through Timberlake's at Chetola Resort for WinterFeast. Snow flurries, ice and extremely cold temperatures didn't discourage our foodies! Fourteen area restaurants served their finest comfort foods, and guests enjoyed a hearty spread of desserts at the After Party, while DJ Pete Welter and his wife Geana entertained the dancing guests with live music.

WinterFeast diners
Photo by Thomas Sherrill

Desserts by Timberlake's

Pete and Geana Welter

Friday kicked off with the WinterFashion Show at Chetola Resort. Over 60 attendees enjoyed passed hors d'oeuvres and cocktails and a photo booth, followed by a presentation of winter and spring fashions on the runway. Canvas Beauty Bar did the models' hair and makeup and presented an intermission seminar on how to extend the life of your blowout that entranced our attendees!

Fashion Show attendees enjoy the complimentary InFocus Photo Booth

Seminar with Canvas Beauty Bar owners Heather Rogers and Miah Zimmerman

Friday afternoon brought the delivery of ice sculptures to 12 local businesses, the start of a hands-on ice carving demo that resulted in the family of cute polar bears below (after the second session on Saturday morning), the Sip & Stroll through downtown businesses, and the WinterCraft Outdoor Handmade Market outside The Mountain Thread Company. From 5 to 6:30 pm, WCNC Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich did live weather broadcasts from these events happening around town.

Ice Sculpture at Storie Street Grille
Sip & Stroll / Ice Sculpture Stroll
Photo by Thomas Sherrill

Hands-on ice carving in Memorial Park

WinterCraft Outdoor Handmade Market in Martin House Courtyard

Brad Panovich live broadcast from WinterCraft Market
Photo by Thomas Sherill

Saturday started out cold and sunny with the water temperature at Chetola Lake registering 32 degrees! Over 100 people jumped in the lake for the Polar Plunge, while John Carter from WBTV narrated and interviewed each plunger. Hospitality House of Boone brought their largest crew yet, with 18 registrants. They and Western Youth Network will take home the proceeds from the event.

Polar Plunge bellyflop
Photo by Craig Lancaster
Town was hopping as the Rotary Charity Chili Cook-off brought 13 local non-profits paired with restaurant partners to Blowing Rock School gym. The High Country Breast Cancer Foundation and Twigs took home the trophy for the second year in a row, collecting over $600 in their tip jar.

HCBCF and Twigs winning team
Photo by Sydney Wolford

LIFE Village Team served chili from the Red Onion

Brad Panovich conducted a snow making demo in Memorial Park, but the wind kept much of a pile from accumulating. This didn't keep kids from making snowballs! Artisan Ice Sculptures also created a large masterpiece, complete with an ice bench for photo opps, during their demo.

Snow making demo with Brad Panovich

Artisan Ice large sculpture in Memorial Park

At the American Legion, Mountain Alliance's Silent Auction & Raffle drew visitors inside to bid on donated items and gift certificates. Outside the Legion, the 4th annual High Country K-9 Keg Pull attracted dog lovers, 59 of whom registered their pets to pull kegs down the course. The Winter Beer Garden also served over 500 beer and spirits enthusiasts. Local and regional breweries and distillers poured drinks and explained their craft. Handlebar Betty entertained the distillery supporters on the back deck of the Legion.

Mountain Alliance Silent Auction & Raffle
Photo by Thomas Sherrill
Keg Pull viewers lined the course

K-9 Keg Pull race
Photo by Lonnie Webster
Warehouse Distillery
Mica Town Brewing

Handlebar Betty plays at Beer Garden 

Distillers serving on the Legion back deck
Beer and dogs - a winning combo

Meanwhile at the Green Park Inn, wine enthusiasts sipped samples and visited with wine vendors, followed by a successful auction of wine-related items and trip packages, benefiting the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock's CART Fund (for Alzheimer's research). The Wine Tasting was so busy, our staff didn't get any photos! We'll add some from other photographers as we receive them.

To wrap-up the whirlwind weekend on Sunday, more dog lovers packed Blowing Rock School gym for the WinterPaws Dog Show, benefiting the Watauga Humane Society.

The crowd anticipates the start of the competition

A contestant and her dog await their turn

Thanks to our presenting sponsor, Hendrick Luxury Group, for making WinterFest possible!

Audi courtesy of Hendrick Northlake Luxury Auto Mall
With Roof, the Watauga Humane Society mascot

For more event photos, visit the Blowing Rock WinterFest Facebook page!

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