Winterfest 2017 this weekend

Photo courtesy Jeff Laydon

By Mary Jo Coulehan
and Angela Wirth
Special to The PREVIEW

WinterFest 2017 will occur on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4 and 5, and the fun begins Saturday morning. Dress warmly, as the hot air balloons will take to the skies from the downtown area beginning at about 8 a.m., weather permitting.

This picturesque event allows for some stunning photographic opportunities of Pagosa in the winter with snow-covered mountains and frozen lakes.

The next event will be the Fat Bike race for all you hard-core cyclers or “newbies.” The event will begin in Yamaguchi Park on 5th Street with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. and the race kicking off at 9 a.m. Attendees can enjoy a 6K, 12K and Kids Fun Ride.

The event will benefit the Dust2 group helping to put single-track trails in Pagosa Springs. Registration is only $10 and you can also rent a fat bike for $10. Bikes will be available for rent at the race site. After the race, there will also be demo opportunities, again for only $10. This is a fun activity for the whole family.

Get out your creativity for the second annual Barkus Parade in downtown Pagosa Springs. Beginning at Town Park at 11 a.m., the parade will feature fabulous pet costumes on the Riverwalk and down main street. Make a donation of at least $10 and get a free cup of gumbo. All proceeds go directly to the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs. Prizes will be given for the best costumes.

The infamous Penguin Plunge will take place at 1 p.m. along the banks of the San Juan River at Davey’s Wave, across from the Pagosa Springs Visitor Center. The Penguin Plunge is for the heartiest souls willing to brave swimming in the frigid San Juan River, all to benefit their favorite nonprofit agency.

“Plungers” can download the registration form from the Chamber’s website at The form is located under Events and Festivals under 2017 WinterFest or from the home page. Plungers should start collecting pledges now. Prizes will be awarded for the most money collected, the best costuming and who knows what else. Goody bags will also be given out to the plungers.

Participants will register and jump from the Visitor Center side of the San Juan River. Spectators may watch the event and cheer on the plungers from the Riverwalk. Music and lineup begins at noon and the plunge begins at 1 p.m. The event is fast, furious and funny, so don’t miss the antics.

Continuing with the festivities, the Sledz on Rez race, formerly known as the Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race, will take place on Reservoir Hill ,with registration beginning at 2 p.m. and the races starting at 2:30 p.m.

This year’s sled race will be hosted by the new Young Professionals of Pagosa Springs (YPOPS) group. This event encourages homemade sleds.

The range of creativity is endless with one of last year’s favorite sleds celebrating the Denver Broncos — and it sure raced down the hill. Prizes will be given for Best of Show, Best Team and, of course, Best Crash, along with some other categories — and there will be concessions available on site.

Registration forms can be downloaded from the Chamber website at or you can pick up a registration form at the Choke Cherry Tree, Coyote Moon Bar and Grill, Chamber or Old West Press. This event is fun for spectators and participants alike.

The weekend festivities continue on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. when the hot air balloons take to the air again, but this time from the west side of town, weather permitting.

At noon, head over to Pagosa Brewing for the Winterfest Superbowl Blowout, including a cornhole tournament, a special Winterfest drink and settle in for the kickoff of the Super Bowl.

All events during WinterFest are weather contingent, so for the latest information, contact the Chamber or “like” us on Facebook, where the latest updates and pictures will be posted.

Come have a chill of a good time and participate in one of the many fun events happening over the WinterFest weekend.