BLOWING ROCK — With stray flurries falling on Saturday, Jan. 25, Blowing Rock’s annual WinterFest felt seasonally appropriate as more than 50 events were held from Jan. 23-26.

“We feel like WinterFest was successful this year, especially on Saturday,” said Suzy Barker of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event.

The kickoff WinterFeast on Thursday, Jan. 23, sold out all 350 seats at Timberlake’s Restaurant. The WinterFashion Show on Friday, Jan. 24, also sold out.

Saturday, Jan. 25, had the lion’s share of events going from morning to late in the evening. The show-stopping Polar Bear Plunge at Chetola Lake saw 143 plungers jump into the 35-degree water, then quickly get out.

“I’d say that overall, everyone was pleased with the event,” Barker said.

The K9 Keg Pull brought hundreds of humans and their furry friends to Park Avenue. Dogs raced two at a time in various weight classes, with weights ranging from empty beer cans to full-sized beer kegs in tow.

The Mountain Alliance Silent Auction and Raffle filled up the American Legion Hall, with director Zack Green saying that 230 items were up for bids.

“We ran out of clipboards,” Green said.

At the Rotary Charity Chili Cookoff at Blowing Rock School, visitors and locals got to warm up with a variety of different chilis from nonprofits who teamed up with local restaurants. Gideon Ridge and the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum won the best chili award from voting by a panel of judges and the Watauga Humane Society and Bistro Roca won the people’s choice award.

Other events included “Chill at the Hill” at Mystery Hill, the Wine Tasting and Auction at Green Park Inn, Cork and Canvas at BRAHM, the Friday Night Concert at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium and many more.

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