Ice Time introduces new ‘Ice Castle Youth Build’

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DOWAGIAC — This week’s plummeting temperatures and snowfall set the stage for Ice Time and the Ice Castle Youth Build, one of the newest events of Dowagiac’s winter arts festival.

Hosted by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce, Ice Time marks its 23rd year on Saturday, as ice carvers hit the street at 8 a.m. Underwriting this year’s festival are: Clark Chapel/Starks Family Funeral Home, Dowagiac Area Federal Credit Union, Dowsett Chiropractic Health Center, Lyons Industries and SEMCO.

Among the new auxiliary events is the Ice Castle Youth Build on Beeson Street, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

“Youth will have opportunity to sculpt, scoop, shape and mold snow into various shapes creating a community sculpture,” said Kris Soenen, festival chairman and owner of Who Knew? Consignment.  “We envision the Ice Castle Youth Build as an open art project.  There is no set plan for the sculpture other than creating something from the elements provided, and encouraging kids to come out, engineer and create.”

Soenen said committee members will create additional ice components, such as ice orbs and small blocks to embellish the sculpture.  Heading up the outdoor art project are Shannon Eakins, art professor at Southwestern Michigan College and Kristie Bussler, educational resource specialist for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi.

Throughout the day auxiliary events and ice carving will be held from one end of the downtown to the other, encouraging families to enjoy the full day, roaming Dowagiac’s beautiful central business district.

New this year, Front Street Crossing/ OA, which will be open as a warming station, have teamed up with the Potawatomi Zoo to host a presentation on animal habits from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Michigan State University students return for their fifth year and will be featured in the Timber Sport Exhibition, where they will demonstrate ax throwing, match split and double saw from 10 to 3 p.m. on Commercial Street. Soenen said that area is also dubbed The Hot Spot, where families can warm up by an open bonfire and roast s’mores, courtesy of the Dowagiac Department of Public Safety.

For those who need to warm up their tummies, the annual Chili Crawl runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., as nine of this community’s favorite restaurants vie for the title of best chili.  Free samples will be served at The Baker’s Rhapsody, Beeson Street Bar & Grill, Caruso’s Candy Kitchen, The Eagle’s, Front Street Crossing, Round Oak Revisited, Wood Fire Italian Trattoria, Wounded Minnow and Zeke’s.

For children, Ice Time offers a variety of attractions throughout the day.   At 1st Source Bank from 9 to 3 families can visit Stu D. Baker, the plush-sized mascot of the South Bend Cubs.  From 10 to 3, committee members from 1st Source Bank will also host Lil’ Chipper Games on Commercial Street, with Who Knew? Consignment hosting a winter craft.

From 10 to 1 the Dowagiac District Library will host a hands-on children’s snow globe workshop.  From 10 to 2:30 a snow shuttle, courtesy of Lewis Cass Intermediate School District, will take families from the downtown to the Dowagiac Area History Museum, where Miss Dowagiac Juliana Stanger and her Court of Honor will frost sugar cookies with children from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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 12:30 p.m. Winners will receive a gift card, courtesy of The Wounded Minnow Saloon.

Families will also want to attend the Sled Dog Meet & Greet on Beeson Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and visit Bow Wow Bakery & Bath, where Cass County Animal Control will offer pets for immediate adoption from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Afternoon events continue with Caruso’s ice cream eating contest at 2:30 p.m., followed by the Snowball Daddy Daughter Dance, hosted by the Young Professionals of Dowagiac, which wraps things up from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Dowagiac Middle School.

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

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