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WinterFest Polar Plunge emcee Tracy Brown gives Charlotte's Bryan Sutton, aka the Polar
Plunge Penguin, the boot during Saturday's event at Chetola Lake. Attendees at this year's
WinterFest enjoyed a blanket of natural snow, giving Blowing Rock's small-town charm a frosty
coating. Photo by Jeff Eason

Originally published: 2013-01-28 10:59:22
Last modified: 2013-01-28 10:59:22

Attendance down slightly at WinterFest

by Jeff Eason

The number of people attending WinterFest events on Saturday was down slightly from the previous year. Most WinterFest organizers agreed that the problem was not the weather in the High Country, but rather the icy road conditions in places like Raleigh, Charlotte and Hickory.

Friday's weather was so bad off of the mountain that the WinterFest concert featuring the Harris Brothers had to be canceled because they could not get to Blowing Rock from their home in Caldwell County.

At the WinterFest Polar Plunge on Saturday morning, the event featured approximately 50 people who jumped into Chetola Lake.

More than 500 people attended the WinterFest Chili Challenge, and although the number of chili cooks competing was down from the past several years, there was enough chili on hand to feed everyone until the event was over.

In the amateur division, Jean Lundy of Statesville came in third place and won $100, Josh Bush of Blowing Rock came in second and won $200, and Kenny Jones won the first prize of $350.

Canyons of the Blue Ridge won the restaurant division and will display the Traveling Chili Challenge Award in its restaurant for next year.

Woodlands won the People's Choice Award.

WinterFest Mascots Chilly and Crystal were married on Saturday in a public ceremony at Blowing Rock Memorial Park. More than 200 gathered to hear Jimmy Crippen officiate the ceremony.

WinterFest continued on Sunday with the WinterFest Pancake Breakfast at the Blowing Rock School cafeteria and the Winter Paws Dog Show at the Blowing Rock School gymnasium.

For more information on WinterFest, call the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce at (828) 295-7851.