February 8 and 9 will mark the second annual Dartmouth Ice Festival, which saw about 3,000 people head to the downtown area last year.
Tim Rissesco, Executive Director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, says the event will be even bigger this year.
“We have at least twice as much ice, a little bit more than twice as much ice, and we have more carvers this year,” he tells HalifaxToday.
The main day will be Saturday, and the big draw is the 25 ice sculptures that will be created on-location on Portland St.
“The ice sculptures will stick around for a week or two, weather permitting, and you can come back downtown and enjoy it throughout the next couple weeks,” says RIssesco.
Six artists from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will sculpt 300-pound chunks of ice, and the majority of the carvings will be of woodland creatures.
The ice for the festival is created by principal artist Richard Chiasson at his New Brunswick based studio, Création Glace.
“Our ice is a little special, it doesn’t have the cloud in the middle,” Rissecso explains. ”When you think of an ice cube, he freezes the ice in special spring well moulds so that it takes all the air out of the water so that it provides a very crystal clear ice.”
The event this year will not be limited to ice sculptures though, and there are many other free activities scheduled for the weekend.
“There’s a little bit of something for everybody,” Rissesco says. “We are collecting donations for the United Way and for the Downtown Dartmouth Street Navigator program throughout the day, but there’s no obligation to donate, all the activities are free for folks to participate in.”
The events include horse-drawn wagon rides and a bouncy castle from 12:00-4:00 p.m. Saturday, as well as a free public skate at the Zatsman Sportsplex Saturday evening at 5:00 p.m.
“We have three song circles with rising star musicians from the local area,” RIssesco adds. “They’ll be leading song circles with campfires and free hot chocolate and free marshmallow roasting all afternoon in downtown Dartmouth.”
Also new this year will be LED lighting placed behind or under the sculptures after dark.
“We’re going to experiment with that this year and that should provide some pretty good visuals for photos and that in the evenings,” says Rissesco.
Rissesco says many local businesses will have food and drink specials for people to take advantage of.
“The whole community is coming together to celebrate the ice festival,” he says.
For more information about the Ice Festival, visit the Downtown Dartmouth website.