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Appalachian Adventures: Need more icy plunging? Blowing Rock’s WinterFest is just the place for you
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Appalachian Adventures: Need more icy plunging? Blowing Rock’s WinterFest is just the place for you

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BHC 01172019  aa BLOWING polar plunge contributed

If you missed last week’s Polar Bear Plunge on South Holston Lake, don’t worry. Blowing Rock offers you another chilly chance, along with many other activities at its annual WinterFest Jan. 24-27.

Last week’s Polar Bear Plunge on South Holston Lake attracted dozens of people and raised $3,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

But, wait — the art of diving into icy waters is not over!

Take a short road trip, and you’ll find the inviting town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, hosting its long-running Polar Plunge on Jan. 26 at Chetola Lake. It’s all part of the four-day Blowing Rock WinterFest, running Jan. 24-27.

Truth be told, Blowing Rock is one of my favorite destinations within a 90-minute radius of Bristol. Credit the quaint downtown, inviting restaurants and overnight getaways, all neatly tucked into a storybook setting just off the Blue Ridge Parkway — and only an hour from downtown Damascus, Virginia.

Now back to the plunging: This is not only cold; Chetola Resort has to cut through a layer of ice well in advance so the plungers can make waves.

Day-of registration and check-in begins at 8 a.m. in the Chetola Lodge second-floor foyer. Or you can pre-register online at $35 per person — with proceeds benefitting local charities.

Plunging begins at 10 a.m., and wacky costumes — even what’s ridiculous — are encouraged. In fact, the strangest may be awarded the Golden Plunger at the big jump.

WinterFest also includes the Rotary Charity Chili Cook-off, the Silent Auction & Raffle, the WinterPaws Dog Show and the newest event: the K-9 Keg Pull.

This year’s festival also features local delicacies at WinterFeast.

And you can check out the WinterFashion Show, help raise funds for charity at the Wine Tasting & Auction, take a hayride through Blowing Rock and enjoy glittering sculptures at the Ice Carving Demonstrations and the Ice Stroll.

You can even try your hand at ice sculpting at hands-on ice carving sessions Jan. 26 and 27.

You can also discover a snow-making demo and discussion in Memorial Park on Jan. 26, led by WNCN-TV’s chief meteorologist Brad Panovich.

Kids and adults can also try hands-on experiences creating winter-themed art during sessions of “Cork & Canvas” or “Arctic Art” at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum.

Some events are free; some are ticketed.

jtennis@bristolnews.com | 276-791-0709 | @BHC_Tennis

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