The penguins are coming to town

SUN Columnist

As temperatures plummet in the evenings to below zero, Mother Nature is setting the stage for the fourth annual Penguin Plunge.

Brave souls will wade into the frigid San Juan River and float over Davey’s Wave, all in the name of raising funds for their favorite nonprofit agency or community organization.

While hundreds of warm spectators will cheer on the floaters, preparation work is now in order for the plungers. Pledge forms are available at the Chamber of Commerce and online at the Chamber website for those penguins who would like to plunge. You must be 15 years of age in order to plunge and participants up to 18 years of age must have parental consent. The organization you wish to receive funds does not have to be a registered 501(c)3, but it must be a viable community organization and the plunge must be for a charitable cause.

You can plunge individually or as part of a group, giving your organization even more presence. Last year, more than 13 people took the plunge, including people from out of town. This year, we already have people from out of town interested in plunging for an organization in their community. We will check the viability of the group, then welcome them to brave the 30-degree water.

The Penguin Plunge will take place in front of the Chamber/Visitor Center at noon on Sunday, Feb. 10, the last of numerous WinterFest activities to be held that weekend. Spectators can also enjoy the Hot Toddy for the Body contest, which will be set up along the River Walk on Feb. 10. For a small tasting fee, viewers can keep warm by enjoying one of the many concoctions produced by our local restaurants, bars and individual participants. This contest will reward the winners via a People’s Choice system. For entry forms and details on the Hot Toddy for the Body contest, stop by the Chamber.


For the first time, there will be a “Chilly Bowl” as part of the WinterFest activities for 2013. On Thursday, Feb. 7, the Chamber of Commerce and the Ross Aragon Community Center will co-host a chili cookoff. Entrants can provide chili in the following categories: green, red, vegetarian, posole or “other,” which could be a stew. There will also be a category for corn bread.

You can enter as a business or individual, and the entry fee is only $5. The winner in each category will be awarded $50 and bragging rights. There will also be a People’s Choice award with that winner being awarded $100.

Attendees at the WinterFest Chilly Bowl will be able to taste the chili entries and the cornbread. They will receive a cool collectable chili bowl (with spoon). There is also a cash bar and Caitlin Cannon+the Artillery, one of the musical acts at the weekend’s Outlaw Snowdown, will perform.

Tickets for the Chilly Bowl are $25 for all this fun, and you’ll be inside and warm. Proceeds from the Chilly Bowl will be donated to local food banks. Tickets are available at the Chamber or community center, or online at the Chamber’s website,

The inaugural Cabin Fever Cribbage Tournament will also take place on Thursday, Feb. 7. Get yourself entered into this challenging card event as there are only 32 slots available. You can enter just the Cribbage Tournament for $10 or compete in the Cribbage Tournament and attend the Chilly Bowl for $30. You can enter up to the time of the tournament, but with only 32 slots available it is a first-come, first-allowed situation.

WinterFest activities are shaping up for 2013 and more information will be forthcoming about all the activities. Start working now on your sled for the Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race on Reservoir Hill. The hill has been receiving a lot of action and we anticipate a fast course. The second annual Snowman Stomp Snowshoe Romp is for all levels of snowshoeing ability and the Nordic Club’s weekend races are shaping up to be fun and challenging. Locations for these events will be announced soon, contingent on snow conditions. All race forms can be downloaded from the Chamber website. Direct your questions to the Chamber staff at 264-2360. Start planning for a funtastic WinterFest Weekend, Feb 7-10.

Annual meeting

The tagline for this year’s annual meeting is “An Ocean of Opportunities,” with the event to be held Jan. 19 at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts on Eagle Drive. We will celebrate individuals and businesses, successes and improvements to come. The evening will consist of a silent auction with fantastic items available through the generosity of our businesses. Businesses can also offer specials to attendees. The evening’s entertainment will be provided by Bob Hemenger and a delicious prime rib or salmon dinner with all the accoutrements being served by The Buck Stops Here. The evening will conclude with the awards ceremony for Citizen and Volunteer of the Year, Green Business of the Year, and the Small Business and Nonprofit of the Year.

Tickets for “An Ocean of Opportunities” are now available for $40 either online at the Chamber’s website or at the Chamber offices, until Jan. 18. Tickets the day of the event and at the door are $45. This price includes a wonderful evening of dinner, music, laughter and celebration. The evening begins at 6 p.m. and is a perfect opportunity to improve your networking skills and have an enjoyable evening with fellow business owners and managers.

Business news

This is a a gentle reminder for Chamber members to cast their ballots for three of six candidates running for the Chamber Board of Directors. With just slightly over 10 percent of the membership weighing in so far, we need more involvement. Please log on to the Chamber of Commerce website and click on the link that will take you directly to the voting process. Candidate bios are available at the Elections Online site or at the Chamber, and they were in the last Chamber newsletter. The process takes only a few minutes and, as a business owner, you should voice your opinion with your vote. You will be able to vote at the annual meeting on Jan. 19. Cast your ballot for three of the following candidates: Nick Tallent with Edward Jones, Jerry Smith with Pagosa Verde, Keil Steck with the San Juan Motel, Nancy Gilber with Elk Meadows River Resort, Paul Gomes with Wells Fargo Bank, and Flynn Fierro with Old Town Market and Deli.

We have two new business to welcome to the Chamber as we kick off the New Year.

If you drive west of town past Pagosa Boulevard, you will see we have a new auto sales center at Vista and U.S. 160. Welcome to Anna and Drew Harbison with Harbison Auto Sales. If you’re looking for a good pre-owned car, before going out of the community, look at Harbison Auto Sales. We welcome this new dealership to Pagosa.

Gregg Cuthbert and Four Corners Framed Art also is a new business to our area. Gregg has over 14 years of framing experience. He offers art and custom picture framing, and has museum glass, shadow boxes, gallery wraps and acid-free matting. He also offers wholesale framing prices to artists and for residential or commercial work. His studio is located at 301 N. Pagosa Blvd. Ste. B4. For more information or a free consult, call 769-0603.

We welcome back a fair crop of renewals this week as well: The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, In Balance Physical Therapy with Nathan Trout, Pagosa Rooter, Pagosa and Cabin Fever Log Homes with Bernie Schuchar, and the Durango Herald.

This story was posted on January 10, 2013.