Indiana ice carver enjoying first Hunter Ice Festival

Published 10:48 am Thursday, January 13, 2022

NILES — There is a new carver on the ice block at this year’s Hunter Ice Festival, and she is ready to bring her creations to life.

Sammy Moore has been hard at work carving ice sculptures for this weekend’s festival. The 22-year-old Elkhart native has been sculpting professionally for four years after being introduced to the art by fellow chefs, many of whom annually participate in the festival.

“I’m excited to be out here,” she said. “I’ve been to similar events in Bloomington and Richmond, but this is my first time at the Hunter Ice Festival.”

When creating a sculpture, Moore said she starts out by drawing her vision on a block of ice or putting a pre-drawn template on it before she shapes it out by cutting out all the excess ice. She then starts rounding it out and creating the dimensions before putting the finishing touches by way of details and texturing.

Moore said she plans on having eight sculptures in total prepared for this weekend’s festival. While some artists enjoy creating landscapes or people, Moore’s preference is creatures of the animal kingdom.

“I just carved a dog,” she said. “I mimicked it after my puppy. I love to do animals, they’re quite difficult. I’ve just progressed in trying to get better at them, but mainly, I like doing animals a lot.”

Moore has created many a sculpture in her four years as a professional ice sculptor, but one particular project she participated in stands above the rest. Competing in the 2020 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska was an enjoyable experience for Moore.

“That was my first year up there,” she said. “They were 5,000-pound blocks instead of 200 pounds because the ice was straight out of the lakes up there. We did a large scenery there. That’s the one I’m most proud of. It was five days of really hard work.”

With the Hunter Ice Festival events right around the corner, Moore looks forward to soaking up the experience.

“I’m looking to just getting better every single day because everybody here is so good and they give such great advice,” she said. “I’m still getting better, I’ve seen myself progress each year that I’ve carved. I’m just looking forward to just being a part of the event and just everything that goes down since it’s my first Niles event.”

The Hunter Ice Festival takes place in downtown Niles Friday through Sunday. Several events are planned for the annual festival, including:

7:30 p.m. Friday — Fire and Ice Kickoff, located behind Wonderland Cinema

10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday — Cocoa and Coronation Continental Breakfast with the “Frozen”

Sisters, located at The Grand LV. Tickets are $30 and registration is required.

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday — Multi-Block sculptures carved live throughout downtown

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday — Hunter Photo Booth, located at On Base Productions. Prints are $2 apiece.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday — Shelf Life Bookstore open

2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday — LifePlan of Niles BabyCakes Cupcake Contest and Fundraiser, located at The Rage

2 to 5 p.m. Saturday — Michigan Beer and Wine Tasting, located at Front Street Pizza Pub

7: 30 p.m. Saturday — Speed Carving, located at the Riverfront Park Amphitheater

All Day Saturday — Children’s Sledding Hill, located at the 400 block of Main/South Side

All Day Saturday — Interactive Ice Park, located on Main between the bridge and Front Street

All Day Sunday — Children’s Sledding Hill, located at the 400 block of Main/South Side

All Day Sunday — Interactive Ice Park, located on Main between the bridge and Front Street