Icy fun returns to Dowagiac

Published 5:05 pm Sunday, January 31, 2016

Submitted photo

Submitted photo

DOWAGIAC, Mich. — Life-size works of art will come to life in downtown Dowagiac on Saturday, Feb. 6, as the Dowagiac Ice Time Festival returns to the downtown and shop owners prepare to clear out their winter merchandise.

Now in its 20th year, the winter arts festival of the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce has been profiled as one of the many creative ways communities across the nation celebrate the bone-chilling months of winter.

Event chairman Kris Soenen said ice carvers and culinary chefs will rev up their electric and power gas tools to transform 12,000 pounds of glistening ice into life-size crystal statues, lining downtown sidewalks.

“Carving gets underway at 8 a.m. and continues through much of the afternoon, when artisans compete in a timed carve off from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Beckwith Park, vying for cash prizes.”

The winter arts event also features wood and timber carving. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. families can watch a chainsaw timber carver and purchase small, large and extra-large timber art pieces. At Front Street Crossing, members of Fruitbelt Wood Carvers Association will host an interactive display of their work from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“For children, the winter arts festival offers a variety of attractions throughout the day,” Soenen said. Lil’ Chippers Outside Games will be held on Commercial Street from 10 to 3 p.m.

Dowagiac District Library will be the site of Seed Bomb Crafts from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. At Dowagiac Area History Museum, the Miss Dowagiac Court of Honor will frost cookies with children from 10 to 2 p.m.

Children will also enjoy Silly Snowflake Crafts at Who Knew? Consignment from 10 to 4 p.m. and Snow Princess Manicures, presented free of charge, from 1 to 3 p.m. at The Mane Attraction Hair Salon. Caruso’s annual Ice Cream Eating Contest kicks off at 2:30.

All ages are invited to grab a partner and try their hand at the Frozen Fish Toss Open Competition on Commercial Street that kicks off at noon. Winners will receive a gift card, courtesy of The Wounded Minnow Saloon.

For adults, at Rosy Tomorrows, festival goers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. can assemble a Shabby Chic book stack with area artist Jennifer Valentine of Sacred Cake. Participants will pay a nominal $7 fee for materials.

Soenen said if you’re looking to warm up, there’s nothing better than the Hot Spot and Chili Crawl. Hosted by Dowagiac Department of Public Safety, families can enjoy S’mores over a bonfire from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Downtown restaurants will be bringing the fire during the annual Chili Crawl from noon to 4 p.m., as festival goers vote for their favorite dish. Participating locations include Zeke’s, Beeson Street Bar & Grill, Caruso’s, Woodfire Italian Trattoria, The Baker’s Rhapsody, Front Street Crossing and Wounded Minnow Saloon.

Wrapping up the festival is the second-annual Snowball Daddy Daughter Dance at Dowagiac Middle School, hosted by Dowagiac Young Professionals from 4 to 6 p.m.

Major underwriters of the 2016 winter arts festival are: Lyons Industries, Platinum Level sponsor; Dowagiac Area Federal Credit Union, Gold Level sponsor; Dowsett Chiropractic Health Center, Silver Level sponsor; along with Chemical Bank and Starts Family Funeral Home, bronze Level sponsors.

For a detailed schedule of events visit the Chamber’s Facebook page or its website, www.DowagiacChamber.com