Presented by Kettering Health Network, IceFest 2019 will return to downtown Hamilton on Friday, Jan. 18 and Saturday, Jan. 19. This year’s theme, “Game Night” will focus on board games, video games, classic arcades, sports and more. The event is hosted by City of Sculpture and serves as the primary fundraiser for the City of Sculpture. Close to 30,000 guests are expected to attend.
“My favorite part of the event is getting to see all the people come into our community, not only to take in the ice and the ice sculptures, but they also get to see all of the art that we have around downtown. City of Sculpture now has over 50 pieces of sculpture in our collection, and they are all publicly viewable,” said Jacob Stone, president, City of Sculpture and chairman of the event.
Sculptures that will be a part of IceFest 2019 include a giant Pikachu, Rock’em Sock’em Robots, Mr. Monopoly, along with other classic Monopoly pieces, a variety of chess pieces, Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and other Nintendo characters, to name a few.
IceFest will kick off on Friday at 4 p.m. All the events at IceFest are free and open to the public, including Fire & Ice, a live sculpture carving event on 2nd Street that will feature fire as a design element. The event will begin at 7 p.m. Friday night, and the finished sculpture will be illuminated with fire.
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Internationally Renowned Carver Greg Butauski, the National Ice Carving Association’s 2014 Ice Carving Champion, will be creating an ice sculpture in front of the Government Services Center on Friday.
On Friday night from sunset to 9 p.m., guests will enjoy a Light Show and Technicolor Ice Walk with sculptures illuminated with different colored lights near the Butler County Courthouse. Also, there will be large light projections on the buildings throughout downtown.
Sponsored by Miami University Regionals, Competition Alley will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday and run until 2 p.m. on 2nd Street (between High and Court Streets by the Courthouse). Eight to 12 ice carvers from across the nation will create designs as part of the competition, and IceFest attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorites. The carver whose sculpture gets the most votes will win the People’s Choice Award sponsored by Mercy Health. A Carver’s Choice Award will also be presented.
“I always enjoy seeing the ice carvers working, because it’s interesting to see the tools they use, and how they go about making something out of ice. So, it’s fun to go look at the ones that are competing. I think that’s my favorite part, just to watch them work,” said Taylor Welch, vice president, City of Sculpture and IceFest 2019 sponsor chair.
Following Competition Alley, there will be a Speed Carving event in the same area sponsored by Telhio Credit Union. The Fitton Center for Creative Arts will also host a free kids activity on Second Street on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Guests can visit the ArtSpace Gallery, where there will be a new exhibition in the gallery for IceFest. There will also be a Plinko-inspired game, “Donut Drop,” at the ArtSpace Gallery. Children can win prizes provided by Butler County Visitor’s Bureau and it’s free to play. The Donut Drop will run 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
On Friday and Saturday, The Lane Libraries will sponsor a Children’s Area at Journal Square. Guests can visit the brand new, larger bookmobile and enjoy activities at the Lane Tech Center for free. The Lane Libraries will also bring an activity to the Miami Regionals Downtown location on High Street (in the same building as the Tech Center). Outside in the Children’s area, there will be Checkers and Tic Tac Toe on ice boards, Putt Putt through ice sculptures, and guests can take a photo on the Ice Throne sponsored by Rose Automotive/Larkin Cobb.
ArtFest will take place at the Government Services Center (at the corner of High Street and Martin Luther King Blvd.) both days. More than 20 vendors will showcase and sell artwork, crafts and more. Additionally, soap carvings by local students will be on display at the Hamilton Welcome Center.