Even for the creatively-inclined, the av-erage person cant just pick up a chunk of ice and start sculpting in order to get the kind of clear, sharply defined, beautiful results that are most desired. There are a wide variety of variables that go into ice sculpting, from temperature to the kind of ice used.
The ideal ice-sculpting block should be made of extremely clean, bubble-free water for plenty of transparency, and the sculpting itself must take place in a very cold environment, which adds extra obstacles for the artist cold hands being only one of the considerations.
Bay Harbor is aware of how unique ice sculptures are, which is why they devote a full weekend to the art form each year, working with ice sculptor Ted Wakar of Frozen Images to create a number of sculptures that are the focus of the Bay Harbor Ice Festival, which will take place January 19-21.
ONE OF THE BEST
Wakar, who is also a professional chef, has competed in over 50 ice-sculpting events around the world since 1981. He was on the first non-Japanese team to place first in the 37th Annual World Ice Sculptors Competition (held in Japan), and he and his brother-in-law, Jim Bur, were also invited to return to the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, where ice sculpting was part of the cultural events preceding the games.
Bay Harbors Elizabeth Mrozinski knows that they made a great decision when selecting Waker to head up the ice sculptures that will be displayed at The Village at Bay Harbor.
Ted is a seasoned veteran, she explains, so we trust him to come up with our new sculptures each year. There wont be any repetitions in the sculptures themselves from last year, but he will be sculpting the ice bar again over at Knot Just A Bar.
He will also be doing carving exhibitions on Friday from 1 to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mrozinski adds.
Its the seventh year for this Bay Harbor event, which started off with the main focus on the ice sculptures themselves, but the festival has grown into a lot more. There will, of course, still be those beautiful sculptures, Mrozinski explains, but were excited that there will now be even more than that.
Bay Harbors Galley Gourmet is a big participant in the fest, putting on the Ice and Spice Chili Cookoff, which is headed up by Chef Karen Williams and which, other than the ice sculptures, is one of the biggest draws of the weekend. Taking place on Saturday, the event is tons of fun, according to Mrozinski, and involves both the chili itself in the competition as well as themed costumes for the chili creators.
Most of the participants try to match the theme of their chili, Mrozinski says. Weve had military chili, Mardi Gras chili, all sorts of varieties, and the prizes are pretty great, too.
The prizes top out at $500 first prize for the winning chili, and anyone can enter as long as they follow the competition requirements, which are outlined on the Bay Harbor website (www.bayharbor.com). Those whose interest lies primarily in eating chili, as opposed to making it, can participate too just pay $5 at the Galley Gourmet, and youll be able to sample all of the competing chilis from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday.
So, with spectacular ice sculptures, tasty chili, and lots of fun, what more could you ask for? Plenty, according to Mrozinski. There will also be hayrides, snowshoe demonstrations, strolling magician Jania Taylor, and music from the Concord Academy Choir and Little Traverse Choral Society.
Plus, the Detroit Red Wings alumni will play an exhibition hockey game on Saturday (which will be held off-site at Griffin Arena). There will also be a Red Wings reception and auction, and a special Red Wings alumni autograph signing in the downtown area of Bay Harbor on Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon.
Weve been trying to add more elements to the ice sculpture event, Mrozinski explains, but what we like best about it is that its such a great winter event for everyone to enjoy. Its really a coming together of the greater Petoskey area, and people also come from as close as Traverse City and as far away as the Detroit area to participate. Theres something for everyone. We really want to continue to grow the event, and community participation is key to that.
The Bay Harbor Ice Festival takes place January 19th-21st in The Village at Bay Harbor. A detailed schedule of events can be viewed at www.bayharbor.com - click on the News and Events tab and then Events for a calendar layout.