Even with warm temperatures, there’s plenty to explore at IceFest

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Mike Dingeldein talks about IceFest 2017 that will be held Friday and Saturday Jan. 20-21 in Hamilton.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

2017 theme explores science and exploration.

Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.

Springlike temperatures forecast for this weekend shouldn’t be a reason to stay away from IceFest in downtown Hamilton.

The seasonal celebration features incredible ice carvings as well as plenty of free children’s activities, a chance to meet live penguins and an art fair.

“I would say get here Friday night … because if we do have warm weather, (the ice sculptures) do start to melt on Saturday,” said Mike Dingeldein, who is chairman of the City of Sculpture board, which benefits from the event. “It is great to see (the ice sculptures) at night with the technicolor lights.”

More than 20,000 people are expected to attend IceFest on Friday and Saturday, organizers say.

This year’s theme, “To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before,” will focus on exploration, science and technology as well as those who have led the way. More than 160 blocks of carved ice will be on display from a space shuttle to “Where’s Waldo?” and “Dora the Explorer,” to name just a few.

“Our theme … is celebrating exploration of all kinds, including historic exploration from (Christopher) Columbus to fantasy like ‘Alice In Wonderland,’ ” said Sue Samoviski, sponsor chairwoman of IceFest.

IceFest, which is held every two years, is the only primary fundraiser for the City of Sculpture organization.

Jon Michael, lead carver with Artic Diamond Ice Sculptures, creates a sculpture of a rocket during a preview event for IceFest 2017 in Hamilton. IceFest, held every other year by the nonprofit City of Sculpture, will take place Jan. 20-21 in downtown Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Caption
Jon Michael, lead carver with Artic Diamond Ice Sculptures, creates a sculpture of a rocket during a preview event for IceFest 2017 in Hamilton. IceFest, held every other year by the nonprofit City of Sculpture, will take place Jan. 20-21 in downtown Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Dingeldein said the event raises about $50,000, and the money is used to replace, install and even buy sculptures to place throughout the city.

“It’s an exciting event and it’s just great to see downtown full of people,” he said.

The event is unique to Hamilton, said Vincent Jackson, engagement center director of StarTek, which is located downtown and is a sponsor of this year’s event.

“It really gives us the opportunity to support something for the city of Hamilton that you don’t see in a lot of other cities across the country,” he said.

IceFest 2017’s lineup of events includes:

FRIDAY

4 p.m.: Events kickoff in downtown Hamilton. Greg Butauski, the National Ice Carving Association's 2014 Ice Carving Champion, will be creating an ice sculpture in the courtyard of the Butler County Government Service Center, 315 High St.

4 to 8 p.m.: ArtFest takes place in the Butler County Government Services Center.

7 p.m.: Fire and Ice, a live sculpture carving event. The finished sculpture will be illuminated with fire between 8 and 9 p.m. on Second Street.

Sunset to 9 p.m.: Technicolor Ice Walk with sculptures lit up with colored lights around the Butler County Historic Courthouse.

SATURDAY

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: ArtFest takes place in the Butler County Government Services Center.

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Ice carvers from around the country will display their ice sculptures, and IceFest attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorites.

Noon to 2 p.m.: Meet a live penguin through Newport Aquarium's program on African penguins at Miami University Hamilton Downtown, 221 High St.

2 p.m.: Human sled race, a team endurance challenge, will take place on Court Street.

3 p.m.: Speed carving competition, where ice carvers get five to 15 minutes to create an ice sculpture in front of attendees.

BOTH DAYS

A children’s area will be open on Friday night and Saturday morning in Journal Square, where children can play putt-putt, have their picture taken on an “ice throne,” and participate in other family-friendly activities.

Staff writer Nick Graham contributed to this report.


HOW TO GO

WHAT: IceFest 2017

WHEN: Friday and Saturday, Jan. 20-21

WHERE: Downtown Hamilton, along High Street and at various other downtown locations

COST: Free. Items are available for purchase.

MORE INFO: For a complete list of events and activities, visit www.cityofsculpture.org or on Facebook at Hamilton Ice Fest