What makes for an exciting Ice Festival?
I always tell my clients that you need a couple things to happen to make for a good festival. You need to have pre-carved street pieces (commonly referred to as buffet sculptures), demonstrations, interactive displays and activities, shows and a competition. First, is the street piece or buffet sculpture. This is important to have sculptures that are ready to be viewed when the customer comes to your festival. If you advertise the festival from 11:00 am to 5:00 p.m. then when 11:00 rolls around you better have something for them to look at! This is why pre-carved sculptures play an important roll to any festival.
Demonstrations are also very important. The audience is always interested in how we do what we do. So you better have someone carving ice so they can see what the process is. It is important to have carvers who are able to answer questions like "Is that ice?" or "How do you do that?" Demonstrations should be larger than a single block. Midsize demonstrations are most popular (4 block display).
Interactive displays and activities are important because you want the artist to interact with the crowd. Some great ways that our crew is able to interact is by carving kids names in ice, building blocks or ice games. Some games we like are Frozen Turkey Bowling, Tic Tac Toss, Football Toss and Corn Whole!
Ice sculpting shows are another great way for us to motivate or excite your crowd. Performance Ice Sculpting is great for a number of reasons.
One, is that shows are not dependent on weather. If it is warm or cold we can entertain through speed carving and good family fun! If you set show times then you can ensure that your crowd will gather around your advertised times. Lastly, your crowd will be amazed with what we can carve in a very short period of time.
Competitions are another great way to attract crowds. People are excited to see the best of the best and who can carve at the highest level. If you want a high level competition then you want a NICA sanctioned event. NICA is The National Ice Carving Association and has sanctioned over 500 ice sculpting competitions. NICA also attracts the best carvers across the country. It is the largest ice sculpting organization in the world and they have been doing it right for over 20 years now. So if you have an ice sculpting competition and it is not NICA then you might as well just call it a demonstration. As for your festival, this type of competition can bring some world class talent to your back door and boy is it fun to watch!
Some other helpful tips for your festival is to concentrate on day light hours. No one wants to be out in the cold at night! Also, try to keep your timeline between 11:00 am and 5:00 p.m. This way you can attract an early crowd (the before dinner people) or the after lunch crowd (the late risers).
When you decide you want to have an ice festival make sure that the company you talk to can cover all these basics. If not, don't be afraid to use more then one company to make your festival happen. Two can be better than one!
Demonstrations are carved on site and can be turned into interactive displays like you see here. To the right is a Father Winter Throne and below is ice mountain scenery, both great for taking family photos!
Above is a sculpture of a buck. This was a ten block sculpture demonstration. To the left is a midsize demonstration (4 blocks) of a heron. The midsize is a great economical way to do a bigger demonstration.