Frozen fun to take place downtown Saturday

DOWAGIAC — There will be plenty of cool things for families to check out this weekend, as the city’s annual frozen festival returns to downtown.

The Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce will host the 22nd annual Dowagiac Ice Time Festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Activities will take place through the day along Front and Commercial streets downtown, as well as at the Dowagiac Area History Museum on Division Street.

Six area ice carvers — Alfredo Arroyo, Mike Evans, Richard Biggs, Howard Busfield, Joshua Nivens and Peter LaBirge — will spend the morning chiseling 300 pounds of frozen H2O into crystal clear works of art, beginning at 8 a.m. A total of 31 businesses are sponsoring blocks of ice, which will line the streets downtown.

At noon, the carvers will assemble outside the Beckwith Park Gazebo on Front Street for the annual ice carve-off competition. The artisans will be tasked with creating the best original ice sculpture with a two-and-a-half-hour time limit, with a panel of judges announcing the winner at 3 p.m.

On top of checking out the ice sculptures and their creators in action, festivalgoers will have a litany of free family-friendly activities they can participate in.

Among the highlights will be the timber sports exhibition between students with Michigan State University and Ohio State University, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Commercial Street. New this year will be demonstrations from dog mushers with the Mid-Union Sled Haulers, which will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Beeson Street.

The annual Chili Crawl will also return this year, with several local restaurants offering free samples of original chili recipes for guests to try. People will be able to vote on which dish they enjoyed most.

Many downtown businesses will be offering special discounts throughout the event as well, such as The Marshall Shoppe and Olympia Books. Bow Wow Bakery and Bath will also partner with the Cass County Animal Shelter to offer pet adoptions from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Following the conclusion of the festival, the Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac will host its fourth annual Daddy-Daughter Snowball at Dowagiac Middle School. Tickets will cost $5 if purchased in advance, and $10 at the door.

For more information, people may call the Dowagiac chamber at (269) 782-8212 or visit

A complete schedule events is below:

8 am. — Ice Carving begins on 300-pound blocks of ice at Front Street downtown

10 a.m. — Select specialty shops offer “Out of Hibernation” sales. Visit retailers for details and hours.

10 a.m. to 2:30 pm — “Snow Shuttle” to the Dowagiac Area History Museum from Front Street, provided by Lewis Cass Intermediate School District. Transportation is handicap accessable.

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Families may create 3D marshmallow snowflakes at the Dowagiac District Library. Free hot chocolate will also be served.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Lil’ Chippers Outdoor Games on Commercial Street.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Timber Sport Exhibition MSU vs. OSU in friendly competition on Commercial Street.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Winter Friends Craft at Who knew Consignment.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Adopt a pet at Bow Wow Bakery & Bath with Cass County Animal Control.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Frost cookies with Miss Dowagiac and her Court of Honor at the Dowagiac Area History Museum.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. —Fruitbelt Woodcarvers will host their Carver’s Cave demonstration at the COA Front Street Crossing.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Winter Science Spectacular featuring the Southwestern Michigan College STEM Club at the COA Front Street Crossing.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Hot Spot Bonfire and S’mores at Commercial Street, provided by the Dowagiac Department of Public Safety.

11 a.m. to 4 pm. — Chili Crawl at participating sites. People may taste for free and vote for their favorite dish.

Noon to 2:30 p.m. — Ice Carve-Off Competition at Beckwith Park Gazebo.

12:30 p.m. — Frozen Fish Toss Open Competition. People may bring a partner for a chance to win at Commercial Street. Sponsored by the Wounded Minnow Saloon.

2:30 p.m. — Ice Cream Eating Contest at Caruso’s Candy Kitchen. Arrive early to enter.

3 p.m. — Ice Carve Off winners announced at Beckwith Park Gazebo.

4:30 to 6:30 p.m. — Snowball Daddy Daughter Dance at Dowagiac Middle School. Tickets cost $5 in advance; email for detals.

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