Plans underway for February ice sculpting festivalPublished 7:30am Thursday, December 5, 2013
While the winter season has still yet to reach the depths of the arctic conditions typically seen in this region, plans for next year’s annual celebration of Dowagiac’s ice and snow are already underway.
The planning committee for the 18th annual Dowagiac Ice Time Festival has already begun preparations for the winter festival. Organizers are seeking artists and sponsors for next year’s event, which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 1.
Like in previous years, attendees at the ice festival will be able to see a large variety of different ice sculptures, crafted by artists from around the area. The event usually features around 30 different frozen pieces, said Kris Lamphere, the chairperson for festival planning committee.
“It’s a great event in our central business district,” Lamphere said. “It’s a great opportunity for families to come out and revel in the winter weather and enjoy the snow, the artistry of our sculptors and to visit our local retailers.”
The main event of the festival is the ice carving competition, which usually features around eight local artists battling it out in a head-to-head sculpting challenge. Judges will decide who crafted the most impressive sculpture within the time limit, with cash prizes given out for first, second and third place.
Last February, Edwardsburg resident Mike Evans took home the $600 for his first place winning piece, a frozen replica of the New York Mets baseball cap. It was his third time he won the competition.
The prizes for next year’s event are still being decided, Lamphere said.
Letters have already been dispatched to potential corporate and individual sponsors of the event, who pay for the 350-pound ice blocks that the artists use a base for their sculptures. The name of the person who purchased the block will be labeled next to the sculpture it was crafted from.
There are three different blocks up for purchase: a block that will used for the carving competition, for $135; a block reserved for display on Front and Commercial streets, for $100; and a block reserved for display on the a multi-ice block displays on the corners of the main intersections on Front Street, for $350.
Sponsors have until Jan. 3 to reserve and pay for an ice-sculpture.
In addition, the committee is still in the process of organizing the various activities that will take place throughout the day. The usual festival standbys will again be featured next year, including the “chili crawl” and the “hot spot” s’mores stand. In addition, the committee is also planning a number of new activities to join the mix.
This will mark the first year that Lamphere is heading up the planning committee for the festival, which is organized by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce. Her position was previously held by Timothy Dowsett, the president of the chamber.
Lamphere is no stranger to the festival planning committee, as she was helped organize the event since she joined the chamber six years ago. She has also served as the chairperson for the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival’s art walk event for the past several years.
While the planning process is well underway, Lamphere said the committee is always looking for extra hands in preparation for February.
“We are always welcoming new volunteers,” Lamphere said.