Ice Festival will transform Niles

Published 9:55 pm Thursday, January 5, 2006

By Staff
NILES - Residents in Niles won't be upset if cooler temperatures return as it prepares for the second annual Hunter Ice Festival on the weekend of Jan. 13-15, 2006.
Last year's festival drew approximately 5,000 visitors to downtown Niles.
The event will feature ice carving, ice cream and a Niles history lesson. The festival is designed to tell the story of the Hunter Brothers Ice and Ice Cream company which was in Niles from 1899 to 1925.
In addition to events from last year, a wine-tasting venue will be added to the festival. Saturday, Jan. 14 from noon to 7:30 p.m., festival goers will have the opportunity to taste a variety of wines from local vineyards. Each wine selection will be paired with either cheese or chocolate. In addition to wine, gourmet hot chocolate will be available for purchase.
The tasting tent will require an additional 80 festival volunteers. Volunteers are needed to set up the venue, sell tickets, serve wine and help out as needed.
“The Niles Art Association will be having a downtown winter art event during the festival,” Croteau said.
Croteau said the Niles District Library will be telling the history of the Hunter Brothers and their company by partnering with Southwestern Michigan College to borrow some of the original artifacts from the Hunter Ice House, as well as pictures, which will be on display at the library and throughout downtown Niles in store windows. A video of ice harvesting will be showing at the library during the festival.
Also, during the Hunter Ice Festival, Support The Fort will be having a feast for public viewing on Saturday. “This will be at 127 E. Main St. on the Second Street side. Our members will be in our attire and show what a 12th Night feast would have been like,” said Jan Personette of Support the Fort.