Blowing Rock WinterFest was created to  celebrate the the fun side of a chilly, sleepy season. As we all look for ways to enjoy the outdoors and find little things to celebrate in 2021, WinterFest invites everyone to do just that! Though the festival will look different from any of its prior presentations, there will still be plenty to enjoy from Thursday, January 28 through Sunday, January 31.

“This year, we modified WinterFest to still have aspects of our favorite events without large gatherings,” says Suzy Barker, festival coordinator. “For example, WinterFeast, A Restaurant Crawl and the Chili Challenge are taking place at individual restaurants to spread out attendance. WinterFest is all about celebrating the fun side of winter and that spirit is still present at this year’s festival with ice sculptures, fun activities, and delicious winter treats!”

specials at chetola

The festivities begin on Thursday with the WinterFeast Restaurant Crawl. Individual restaurants are cooking up something special so you can get the best bites in Blowing Rock during WinterFest. The WinterHawk Tournament begins at Mystery Hill on the same day. Folks can register to compete in the tomahawk throwing competition that continues through the weekend. Plus, you can get a jump on the weekend’s Scavenger Hunt to compete for a special prize package. The Ice Stroll opens Friday, where visitors can view a variety of ice sculptures outside local businesses. Find the participant list online so you don’t miss any of these fun and intricate creations!

ice sculpture on main street

Saturday brings the annual Chili Challenge, presented at participating restaurants this year. Grab a cup or bowl and contribute to local charities with your purchase: all proceeds from Chili Challenge sales on January 30 go to local nonprofits. The winner of the coveted trophy will be decided by a secret judges’ panel! In Memorial Park, the Carolina Snowbelles will be performing in free shows from noon to 2pm. Though the live ice carving demonstrations will not take place this year, there will still be a centerpiece Ice Sculpture in Memorial Park, ready for photos. Mystery Hill presents the WinterDuck Derby, sure to be a big hit with kids! And don’t forget the Mountain Alliance Silent Auction, which is presented in person and online this year. There are many more specials and activities presented throughout the entire weekend, from kids crafts and s’mores bonfires, to painting workshops and dining features! Drop-in formats and take-away options make social distancing easier.

“Those that can’t join in person this year can find fun features posted on our Facebook page during the event weekend. Enjoy a virtual hayride or a video walk down Main Street viewing the ice sculptures,” says Suzy. Clothing retailers will also be sharing what they have available online and in-store in a special set of WinterFest fashion videos. “Many of our boutiques have winter fashion on sale and are stocking up on spring arrivals!” Suzy adds.

As we celebrate winter, WinterFest reminds us all to share warmth by partnering with Hospitality House for their Blanket Drive. Make a donation of new or gently used blankets to help those in need! The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and Mystery Hill will both serve as collection sites during WinterFest.

For full details and an expandable schedule of events, go to blowingrockwinterfest.com. Follow Blowing Rock WinterFest on Facebook for special online content throughout the weekend: facebook.com/BRWinterfest. Information is also available by calling 828-295-7851. A range of accommodations is available; visit blowingrock.com/lodging for details.

Blowing Rock WinterFest is organized by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and presented by Hendrick Luxury Group.

Released January 2021