Almost ‘Ice Time’ in DowagiacPublished 9:18am Monday, January 27, 2014
While the cold weather may encourage some to seek shelter indoors, visitors to the 2014 Ice Time Festival will have even more to do outdoors this year, as the festival expands its list of activities for this year’s event.
Nine area carvers will spend the morning transforming 50 ice blocks lining Front Street in downtown Dowagiac before facing each other in a head-to-head competition in the early afternoon at Beckwith Park gazebo. The winner will receive
“A majority of our carvers are returning from previous years, some of who have participated in all 18 years of the event,” said Kris Lamphere, the organizer for this year’s festival. “The keep coming to our town because they love Dowagiac and the response they get from visitors.”
Lamphere, who has taken the reigns from previous organizer Timothy Dowsett, said visitors can expect a combination of old and new events for this year’s festival. Among the additions to this year’s festival is the chance to meet a local sled dog musher, Mary Vowell.
“Mushing is a long standing mode of transportation and competition here in Michigan,” Lamphere said.
There will also be an expanded list of outdoors games and activities for children, joining old standbys like broom hockey. In addition, kids will be able to create their own woodcarvings at the “Carvers Cave.”
Visitors will find a variety of locations to warm themselves up, including the aptly-named “Hot Spot,” manned by members of the Dowagiac Department of Public Safety. There, people will have the chance to sit by a bonfire and enjoy s’mores.
“There’s nothing like s’mores on a snowy day,” Lamphere said.
The Chili Crawl event will also make a return in next month’s festival, where visitors will have the chance to sample chili dishes from five downtown restaurants and vote on which they find the tastiest. Competing in this year’s event are Zeke’s, the Wood Fire, Wounded Minnow Saloon, Beeson Street Grill and Front Street Crossing, last year’s champion.
“It’s a great opportunity to warm up and experience a variety of different tastes,” Lamphere said.
A number of stores will host “winter hibernation” sales, offering discounts and other deals to visitors to the festival.
“The goal is to just to get people out and enjoy the weather, and to show that it’s ‘snow’ much fun where we live,” Lamphere said.