Perrysburg Winterfest warms up to ice carving PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Friday, 27 December 2013 11:20
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File. Seth Wyse (left) and Kevin Hull of Ice Creations, place one of several ice sculptures on a pedestal in downtown Perrysburg in preparation for the city's Winterfest. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
PERRYSBURG - There's no room for the amateurs at the next Winterfest.
The event's organizers have learned that Perrysburg's festival will host the national championship event of the National Ice Carvers Association, so feel free to expect more out of the ice carvings to be featured there in February.
The yearly event centered around filling the downtown area with ice carvings and their artists will be a little different in 2014. Usually, the field is split between amateurs and NICA professionals. This year, however, the pros are expected to make up the full show.
"They are the best of the best. They will only be here because they scored enough (at other events) through the year," said Rick Thielen, executive director of Downtown Perrysburg Inc., which organizes Winterfest.
Slated Feb. 21-23, Winterfest is expected to bring in more people and possibly some national media attention because of the signature NICA event, Thiesen said.
They say you never get anywhere without at least a little luck, and that's true in this case, too. Thielen said another unidentified city was in line to host the championship event until those plans fell through.
"We kind of stepped into this through the back door, but it's going to be great for our event.
"We're obviously pretty pumped about this whole national championship thing."
Chad Hartson, a carver with Ice Creations, of Napoleon, took the lead on lobbying to bring the championship event to Perrysburg, Thielen said.
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One of the many ice carvings at the Perrysburg Winterfest earlier this year. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
A group of 28 professionals will compete for the title by carving one ice block in two hours on the first day, and another two blocks in four hours on Saturday. Sculptures will be available for viewing all weekend beginning at 5 p.m. Feb. 21, with competition winners being announced at 8 p.m. during a ticketed wine tasting event on Feb. 22. A people's choice award will be voted upon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 23, the final day of Winterfest.
Community members won't have to serve only as spectators this time, as a community ice wall to be built near the Commodore Perry monument at Louisiana Avenue and Front Street will allow festival-goers to purchase their own personalized ice blocks for $20. Custom ice creations will also be made for around 60 sponsors featuring brand art or special requests that will line Louisiana Avenue.
About $6,000 is expected to be up for grabs when the professional carvers take to the streets. To freeze out the competition and win, they'll have to blend artistic value and craftsmanship, equal parts of the evaluations, said Thielen, who expects the event to be bigger than ever.
Over the years, Thielen said he's seen detailed creations that vary wildly. Last year's people's choice winner depicted an eagle snatching a trout from a stream, and he recalled other nature themes including a praying mantis and trees with owls inside.
"They're very artistic, very creative," Thielen said. "For them, the sky's the limit.
The Winterfest schedule is filled out by family and social events.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.perrysburgwinterfest.com.
Last Updated on Friday, 27 December 2013 13:34
 

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