19th annual Hunter Ice Festival to take place Jan. 13-15

Published 3:30 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2022

NILES — One of the Niles community’s most popular events is set to take shape in a few weeks.

The 19th annual Hunter Ice Festival will take place from Friday, Jan. 13 to Sunday, Jan. 15 in Niles’ downtown area.

The annual event is free and open to the public. Dozens of expertly carved ice sculptures from prominent artists including former NICA National Champion Aaric Kendall along with master carvers Dean DeMarais, Buchanan’s Josh Nivens and Niles native Danny Bloss will be placed around the downtown for people to view.

Approximately 32 tons of ice for the sculptures will be delivered Friday, Jan. 6 and the carvers will start Sunday, Jan. 8.

“We’re very excited,” said Niles DDA Main Street Program Manager Lisa Croteau. “So far, the weather looks like it will hold up for us. It is always something folks look forward to.”

Event-goers taking in the sculptures will also be able to shop to their heart’s content at many downtown businesses that will be open during the festival.

The festival is named in honor of Henry and Lemont Hunter, who moved to Niles from Wisconsin in 1898 to open the Hunter Ice Brothers Company on Barron Lake, the first known ice business and the first industry in Howard Township, according to Niles History Center.

Local businesses sponsor the event hosted by the Niles DDA Main Street. 

However, festival favorites like the Fire and Ice ceremony will take place that Friday evening. The Frigid 5K Run will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday and the Speed Carving Show Saturday evening. The Interactive Family Fun Ice Park and Ice Hill Slide will both be available during the festival – weather permitting – and Hunter Ice Cream will be making its awaited return to the festival.

Croteau said there are still opportunities for festival sponsorships. Interested parties can call DDA Main Street at (269) 687-4332 or email nilesmainstreet@nilesmainstreet.org.