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Weather or not, here comes WinterFest 2011

Activities for the 2011 WinterFest Celebration have definitely been up in the air, thanks to Mother Nature. But snowy and cold winter weather or clear skies — WinterFest activities will go on.

WinterFest kicks off on Thursday evening with the Hospice of Mercy’s Soup for the Soul. Enjoy soups, breads, desserts, a cash bar, entertainment and a silent auction beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center. Tickets are $25 and are available at the Chamber, Moonlight Books, or by calling 731-9190.

On Friday, Feb. 18, with no school that day, the kids can get involved in WinterFest. Elementary and junior high racers should meet at the elementary school beginning at 8:30 a.m. for registration. Elementary racers will race at 9 a.m. and junior high racers at 9:30 a.m. with awards and snacks following. Then, from 4–7:30 p.m. there will be a free Moonrise/Sunset Soup and Chile Ski Social at the Kuhn Ranch located 8.5 miles north on Piedra Road. This is also the location to register for the weekend Nordic races.

On Saturday, Feb. 19, the Nordic games are set, but the rest of the activities are still up in the air. The Kuhn Race is the location for all the Nordic fun — sprint and relay races as well as the Air Soft Biathlon Races. The Nordic Club will supply the air soft guns! This involves shooting targets between your race laps. There will be citizen and competitive categories and races for all skill levels.

For non-Nordic race participants, we are planning Alternatives A and B.

Alternative A is if there is snow. The Snow Sculpting Contest will begin at 9 a.m. at the Visitor Center Parking lot. Sculpting will continue until noon. The Winter Warrior Obstacle Course will be held in Town Park and begins at 11 a.m. with registration. The Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race will occur on Reservoir Hill and registration will begin at 1 p.m. with the races starting at 2 . There is a $5 admission fee for any of the activities.

Alternative B is if there is no snow. The events will be held at the west end of town around Pinon Lake. The morning kicks off with the Holey Duck Toss at 10:30 a.m. This is similar to horseshoes but with holes augered into the ice and rubber ducks used as the tossing mechanism. This game is played with two teams of two players. This will be a tournament bracket system with playoffs. The Sled Race will be turned into a Sled Pull — with a few nuances thrown in. Please bring your own sled with the races beginning at 11 a.m. The Winter Warrior Obstacle Course will move to behind the Pagosa Lodge and begin at noon. Again, there is a $5 admission fee for any of these fun activities.

Festivities continue Saturday evening with two shows of the Rotary Follies: 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. All shows will be held at Liberty Theatre. A cash and snack bar will be available. Come out and see the latest in farce and good community commentary.

On Sunday, WinterFest concludes with a continuation of the Nordic Races again held at the Kuhn Ranch on Piedra Road. The awards will be given out at a celebration at Pagosa Brewing Co. beginning at 1 p.m. The main event on Sunday will be the Penguin Plunge in the frigid San Juan River, beginning at noon. Right now there are plungers jumping in for the Youth Center, San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, the Humane Society, the Americana Project, Head Start, the Chamber, Relay for Life, and Victim’s Assistance. It will be a total body shock watching the participants float over “the wave.” Come out for some warm drinks and get great still and video footage to show everyone back home. Spectators are asked to watch the plunge from the Riverwalk, not the Visitor Center parking lot.

So, snow or no snow, warm or cold, there will be WinterFest activities for residents and visitors alike.

For the latest information, check the Chamber website at

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