Archived Story

15th annual Ice Time Festival Feb. 6

Published 9:14am Tuesday, January 19, 2010

During this time of year, just as folks living in southwest Michigan can count on lake-effect snow making an appearance, as Dowagiac readies for its 15th annual Ice Time Festival, organizers say they are blessed to have a group of steadfast corporate sponsors that return, year after year, to help Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce underwrite its wintertime event.

Chamber President Dr. Timothy Dowsett, who owns Dowsett Chiropractic Health Center, is also no stranger to the outdoor fine arts festival. With this new decade, he will mark his eighth year as event chairman and is also one of the longtime corporate sponsors.

Dowagiac Ice Time Festival, which returns to the central business district on Saturday, Feb. 6, is one of several seasonal events the Chamber hosts each year.

Corporate sponsors that have agreed to help underwrite this year’s $8,500 winter arts festival were announced by Vickie Phillipson, program director of the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority.

Marking its 13th year as today’s longest-running corporate sponsor of Ice Time, Lyons Industries leads the way as the top Platinum Sculpture Sponsor, followed by Gold Sculpture Sponsors Dowagiac Area Federal Credit Union and Dowsett Chiropractic Health Center; and Silver Sculpture Sponsors Kemner-Iott Agency of Cass County and Yazel and Clark Chapel.

Phillipson said new to the event as Bronze Sculpture Sponsors are City’s Pure Ice of LaPorte, Ind., and Wal-Mart of Niles.

In 2008, festival organizers established a new funding structure for their solicitation of corporate sponsorship dollars with the Platinum Sculpture level representing a donation of $1,000 or more.

Dowsett said he believes in Dowagiac and what it offers residents and visitors, some of whom on Feb. 6 may be visiting our community for the first time.

“Clearly, our corporate sponsors agree,” Dowsett added, as he thanked each business for their community support and their financial generosity.

“Through the years, I’ve come to understand how important festivals are to the entire community, as a whole, and to our local businesses,” Dowsett said.

“Ice Time provides Dowagiac with a means to be a destination for day-visitors during the winter, just as this community’s Dogwood Fine Arts Festival and our Summer in the City festival draw day-visitors to Dowagiac in the spring and summer.”

“Ice Time has proven itself to be an economic stimulator during one of the slowest retail months of the year, as this influx of patrons visit our specialty shops, dine at one of our fine or casual restaurants or stop at a service station before heading home.”

Dowsett said the 2010 event is expected to involve another 30 to 40 businesses that will sponsor single-block ice sculptures that will line downtown sidewalks and those that are carved during the professional ice-carving competition that afternoon.

Auxiliary events feature: the seventh annual Winter Hibernation Sale and the Ladies Library Association winter book sale; a timber carving demonstration and silent art auction featuring the sale of a moose and an Indian wearing a headdress carved from two four-foot logs; and Fruitbelt Wood Carvers’ Exhibition at Carvers’ Cave, located within the Front Street entrance to Round Oak Restaurant.

Popular events feature an outdoor soda fountain, carved from 800 pounds of ice, from which Caruso’s will serve ice cream and what last year became the event’s new “hot spot” on Commercial Street, where the City’s Department of Public Safety will again prepare S’mores for festival goers over an open campfire.

Children will enjoy Caruso’s ice cream eating contest, the miniature snow sculpture workshop with the Miss Dowagiac court and the children’s ice art exhibition held this year at Who Knew? Consignment.

Downtown restaurants will also host the annual professional chili cook-off.

A blacksmith artist, specializing in the design and artistic hand-forging of wrought iron, also joins this year’s line-up on Commercial Street.

Businesses that would like to sponsor a street carving or participate in the professional chili cook-off are encouraged to contact the Chamber of Commerce for further information at (269) 782-8212.

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