At lower elevations, the High Country hasn’t exactly been snowless this season, but largely, those looking for frozen fun have had to head to the slopes where snowmaking has maintained the winter magic for the county.

One notable exception to that was last weekend’s WinterFest, Blowing Rock’s annual homage to all things winter in Watauga County.

More than a winter celebration — although it’s certainly that, and has been since 1998 — myriad events and occasions again highlighted the winter wonder of our mountain community, inside and out. From plunging into polar depths to spotlighting the fashions of human and best-friend alike, WinterFest has evolved beyond its early origins to claim the coveted title of a January destination for thousands.

Along the road, the annual event has also earned significant donations for many of our nonprofit organizations — amounts that are unusual for most communities in the month of January.

Of course, none of this is possible without an army of officials and even larger army of volunteers working behind the scenes to ensure that every gear is a well-oiled part of the full machine.

This then, is our thank to each of you for that effort — and for making every January just a bit more special than the year before.

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