Even though Ohio doesn’t experience the months long freezes of places farther north, finding ice here in January is hardly rare. Of course, it isn’t always welcomed and finding it in your path is sometimes disastrous. But every two years, ice and the folks who carve it are invited to Hamilton, Ohio, “The City of Sculpture”, and made to feel very much welcome. With the theme “Hamilton Goes Hollywood”, this year’s IceFest features more than 80 movie related ice sculptures. I attended Friday. In 2011, I attended the second of the event’s two days which includes the fun-to-watch carving competition. This year, Saturday’s 50 degree temperatures threatened to take a little of the edge off of the existing sculptures but I’m sure they still looked good and watching the carving was no doubt exciting.
I started at the east end of the sculptures and found one carver at work. I later spoke with someone who works in the building in the background who said the man had provided wonderful entertainment for most of the day and even later I got a shot of the finished product.
As you might expect, there were several sculptures representing movies with which I was completely unfamiliar but there were plenty that I recognized immediately. The remarkable detail that some of these artists achieve with the ice is even more impressive when you consider how fragile it can be.
They had just started unpacking the blocks for the Wall of Ice when I arrived but it was complete by the time I walked past all of the sculptures and returned. There were quite a few pairs of blocks and several two block sequences that were properly matched and placed. When I first spotted what turned out to be the second of a three block sequence and did not see an appropriate block immediately following I thought it might be lost or at some far off point in the wall. Nope, missed it by only that much.
When I first walked the display area, only two of the three blocks were filled. Because of temperatures in the 40s, sculptures for the third block, the courthouse block, were not put out until after sundown. These are the sculptures that are illuminated from behind to create the Technicolor Walk.
I’ve not been here at night before so don’t know if the spotlights are normal or part of the Hollywood theme. The tents are where the carving takes place on Saturday. After grabbing what I believe is my first nighttime shot of The American Cape, I slipped into a coffee shop to warm up and pretend to be Puss in Boots.
This is Hamilton’s ninth IceFest and there’s little doubt that they have a real winner. Some 25,000 people were expected to attend over the two days. They got a pretty good start on Friday with a whole bunch of smiling folks of all ages.