Niles DDA calls Hunter Ice Festival a success

Published 3:06 pm Monday, January 17, 2022

NILES — Cold yet sunny weather proved to be a winning combination for the Hunter Ice Festival, which took over downtown Niles this past weekend.

Niles Main Street Downtown Development Authority representatives reported the festival, which sees dozens of expertly carved ice sculptures placed around downtown in addition to other activities, was a success, seeing several thousand visitors over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“It was a beautiful weekend, and while I don’t think we had record crowds, we had really good crowds,” said Lisa Croteau, director of marketing and administrator for Niles Main Street. “Speaking to the local businesses, they all seem to have done well this weekend. In talking to people who came down to the festival, I didn’t hear from anyone who didn’t have a good time.”

Croteau believes it was a combination of fun events, good weather and skilled ice carving that made the festival’s 18th year a success.

“The weather could not have been better for us,” she said. “The carvers had a blast and did amazing for us like they always do, so I think a good, profitable time was had by all, and the sculptures are likely to even stick around for a bit for people to enjoy them.”

Though some events, such as the chili cook-off, were still impacted by the COVID-19 virus, Croteau said she was glad to see the festival go off well despite the lingering pandemic.

“It was a really good step towards normal,” Croteau said. “There were things we didn’t do this year because COVID is still having an impact, but I think it was a really good step towards normal. … Here’s to next year.”