Hunter Ice Festival shows love for Niles community

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, January 20, 2016

As ice blocks were unpacked in Niles Monday, we could sense the anticipation for one of the city’s most beloved events.

Frozen festivals like the Hunter Ice Festival have grown in popularity in southwest Michigan over the years, but the Niles version seems to be a staple for people all over Michiana and beyond. At any time of year, it’s not unusual for our office to get phone calls and messages asking if the date has been set, because people from out of the area plan their winter travel so they can join the fun.

So many local businesses contribute to this event by sponsoring ice sculptures, making in-kind donations or donating their space for warming stations and other elements of the festival.

Throughout the weekend, thousands will make their way down Main Street to view ice sculptures that artists from all over the country — including right here in Niles — have been working on all week. They’ll have the opportunity to warm up with a bowl of chili or taste the history of Hunter ice with a bowl of ice cream.

For months, volunteers have been working tirelessly to coordinate all the moving parts of this festival. You’ll find those volunteers busily doing last-minute work all week this week — be it by baking cookies, preparing cocoa, shoveling sidewalks, plowing parking lots or relocating ice sculptures.

We love this time of year in Niles because it gets people out of the house and into the streets of our downtown. The festival gives downtown entities a time to shine and showcases all we have to offer to people from all over the region.

We’re excited to welcome all the visitors this weekend, and can’t wait to see you there!


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.