By Kristi Kates
Back in 2000, the marketing folks at Bay Harbor were thinking up ideas
to bring more people in to the Bay Harbor community. A couple of
professional ice carvers were invited to create ice sculptures in Bay
Harbors Village on Main Street - and the response was a more than
positive one, with a plethora ofvisitors and locals stopping by to
view the unique art pieces crafted in the cold of a Northern Michigan
Ten years later, and those initial ice carvings have grown like
icicles into a full-fledged event, this years 10th Annual Bay Harbor
Ice and Snow Festival. Its bigger than ever, and stuffed full of
snowy events and great prizes, beginning with big rewards for the art
form that started it all.
This year is the first year were having a national competition (in
ice carving) at Bay Harbor, with professional and amateur carvers,
explains Bay Harbor Marketing Coordinator Michelle Denise. First
through third place awards will be given, with over $12,000 total in
This years Bay Harbor event is sanctioned by the NICA (the National
Ice Carving Association), and is also being backed by an event
management team from Ice Creations, who are experts in running ice
NICA is the only professional organization for the ice carving
industry in the United States, Denise explains, only NICA can offer
standardized judging and rules designed specifically for ice carving
events. The specific expertise they give us guarantee a very
successful event, so we know it will be managed both creatively and
professionally. We in Bay Harbor want to grow this competition into
one of the biggest in the country.
Ice Creations is the other side of this ice festival coin, working
with the Bay Harbor team to both organize the event and create some
icy artworks of their own.
Chad Harston, the owner, and his team (at Ice Creations) will arrive
the Wednesday before the event to help with logistics and placement,
Denise says. He and NICA are bringing in three professional judges,
and Ice Creations will also be sculpting many pieces in our village,
including a 12-foot sculpture at our front entrance, an Ice Bar at The
Knot, and Ice Bricks for the Great Wall of Sponsors.
The sculptures, of course, are one of the biggest draws of the Ice and
Snow Festival, and this year will include ice furniture and a luge at
the unique, upscale Cava Chill Lounge.
The Cava Chill Lounge will be mainly for beverages, Denise says, it
will be a very chic setting with ice furniture clad with faux fur and
pillows on the couches and chairs near the outdoor fireplace. There
will be a small bar with luge so you can order a soda, hot cocoa, or
The ice sculptures seen on Bay Harbors Main Street will be lit during
evening hours, bringing yet another level of artistic interest and
colorful twinkle to the proceedings.
Ice Creations will be bringing LED lighting with them, Denise
explains, and we will be keeping the sculptures lit as long as they
stay intact through the winter season. We would love people to come
and see them during the festival in the evening, and for as long as
the weather conditions hold - they will cast a beautiful glow along
the Village streets.
Another event new to the festival is the mSnow Show, which Denise says
will be a great high-energy highlight.
This is an aerial acrobatic show which is a true crowd pleaser, she
enthuses, Adam and Luke Schrab, along with a team of snowboarders,
will perform spectacular stunts in the snow on Saturday for three
performances. The Schrab brothers have been featured in films,
including Warren Miller movies, around the world.
And a returning event near and dear to Bay Harbor residents hearts
and stomachs is the annual Chili Cook Off, back again and sponsored
by the Bay Harbor Foundation (info on how to enter can be found via
the Foundation office at 231-439-2700.) For Denise, the Chili Cook
Off, the mSnow Show, and the Talk to the Paw Musher Sled Dog Rides
are some of the things shes looking forward to the most - after, of
course, the shopping, dining, live music, and all of those
artistically-transformed giant blocks of ice.
I am just going to be amazed by the professional carvers, Denise
says, since this is a competition and the first prize is $5,000, Im
sure the sculptures will be absolutely spectacular. I cant wait to
see the Cava Chill Lounge, the Ice Bar, and the Great Wall of Sponsors
take shape. It will be a wonderful, fun-filled weekend of activity in
The 10th Annual Bay Harbor Ice and Snow Festival will take place
January 21-23, 2011 as presented by Art Van Furniture, the Bay Harbor
Village Merchants, and the festivals sponsors. For a full schedule
and more information on the entire event, visit