MEDINA – A perfect weather weekend for the organizers of the Medina Ice Fest is temperatures around freezing, no rain and cloudy conditions to keep the ice from melting.
“Next weekend looks like winter wonderland kind of weather,” said Peggy Costic of Elegant Ice Creations, the company that carves the sculptures and organizes the festival’s compeititons.
The festival over the years has been held in every weather condition ranging from snowstorms with temperatures just above 0 degrees to one a few years ago where every sculpture melted within a day due to temperatures in the mid-60s. Despite the weather, it has become one of the city’s most popular festivals.
“It’s the middle of February … people come whether it’s 60 degrees or 10 (degrees), we’ve had both,” said Matt Wiederhold, executive director of Main Street Medina, which organizes the event along Elegant Ice Creations. “
The 26th annual Ice Fest Feb. 14-17 will feature nearly 100 ice sculptures from local sponsors and businesses placed in and around Medina’s Public Square, said Peggy Costic of Elegant Ice Creations. This does not include the couple of dozen sculptures created during the carving competitions in the square park and put on display afterwards.
Wiederhold said there are a record number of sponsor carvings this year. In addition, more carvings can be seen further down South Court Street this year due to the opening of the businesses and stalls inside the recently renovated Farmers Exchange. The area is part of the recently designated Southtown neighborhood directly south of the square.
Another popular carving, an ice luge and bar on the back patio of P.J. Marley’s restaurant, is also returning, said Costic. Last year, the bar had ice taps filled with whiskey available for purchase.
The event kicks off Friday, Feb. 14 with speed carving competitions at 5:30, 6 and 6:30 p.m., with the winners determined by the crowd, said Costic.
The lighting of the fire and ice tower is at 7 p.m., with firewood igniting in the base of an icy tower. Wiederhold said the lighting will once again be held on Broadway Street near the county courthouse; the location was changed to allow easier viewing.
Saturday Feb. 15 is the individual carving competition from 1-4 p.m. in the square and the team competition will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16. During both competitions, spectators can watch the creation process in real time as carvers use a variety of tools, ranging from saws to blow torches, to achieve their visions.
All of the carvings will be on display Monday, Feb. 17 for the President’s Day holiday.