By Katie Dobbins
Special to The PREVIEW
WinterFest 2019 is sure to be “Snow Much Fun!”
Friday, Jan. 25, will kick off this event with the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce 43rd Annual Gala at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. The Community Award winners of Citizen, Volunteer, Small Business and Non-Profit of the year will be announced, while guests enjoy catered selections. After dinner, put on your dancing shoes as Tim Sullivan takes the stage. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at www.pagosachamber.com.
Saturday, Jan. 26, bundle up and head uptown as the hot air balloons take to the skies at 8 a.m. This picturesque event allows for some stunning photographic opportunities of Pagosa in the winter with snow-covered mountains and frozen lakes.
The Fat Bike Fun Race will be in Yamaguchi Park. Participate in the Kids-K, 6K or 12K races. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the race begins at 8:45 a.m. You could get Cheer on the racers while enjoying killer crepes, hot chocolate or coffee. This is fun for the whole family. Proceeds will benefit DUST2.
If you have ever wanted to learn to skate ski or the classic cross-country ski, the Pagosa Nordic Club is having a clinic in Cloman Park at 10 a.m. Basics will be shared by some of Pagosa Springs best skiers. This is a great clinic for the never-evers, beginners and intermediates.
Get out your creativity for the fourth annual Barkus Parade in downtown Pagosa Springs. Beginning at Town Park at 11 a.m., bring your costumed pet and parade down the Riverwalk. Make a donation to the Humane Society and get a free cup of gumbo. Proceeds will benefit the Humane Society.
The infamous Penguin Plunge takes place at 1 p.m. along the banks of the San Juan River at Davey’s Wave across from the Visitor Center. The Penguin Plunge is for those willing to brave swimming in the frigid San Juan River to benefit their favorite nonprofit agency. Prizes will be awarded for the most money collected, the best costuming and who knows what else. 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 begin at noon and the plunge begins at 1 p.m. The event is fast, furious and funny, so don’t miss it.
Continuing with the festivities, the Sledz on Rez Race will take place on Reservoir Hill with registration beginning at 2 p.m. and the races starting at 2:30 p.m. Hosted by Build Pagosa, this event touts homemade or modified store-bought sleds. You may use skis, snowboards and parts of a manufactured sled as part of your sled; you can easily get all sorts of winter equipment on HumberSport.net and other such websites; however, a manufactured sled cannot be the entire sled. The range of creativity is endless. Prizes will be given for best decorated sled, fastest time and, of course, best crash. Concessions will be available on site. Registration is $10 per sled the day of the event. This event is fun for spectators and participants alike.
Head on over to the Nomad Lounge at Motel SOCO at 4 p.m. DUST2 is hosting a WinterFest After Party. There will be live music by Brooks-i and Robin Davis. Pick up some swag, beer, cocktails or tasty apps.
The weekend festivities continue on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. when the hot air balloons take to the air again uptown.
Head on over to Yamaguchi Park where the Pagosa Nordic Club is hosting a BB Gun Biathlon with Red Ryder BB guns. No shooting experience is needed. This is great for all ages. The event is a freestyle ski event in which participants can either classic cross-country ski or skate ski. You may sign up for the citizens 6K course or the competitive 16K course. The Kid-K will be determined based on the kids that enter. They love this race. Registration and check in is from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. The race starts at 9 a.m.
All events during WinterFest are weather contingent, so for the latest information, visit us on Facebook or the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce website at www.pagosachamber.com/winterfest/.
Whether you are a participant or spectator in one of the many events happening over this weekend, it’s sure to be “Snow Much Fun!”
By Katie Dobbins