A sneak peek at the ice sculptures planned for this year’s IceFest in Hamilton

IceFest 2019 will happen Friday, Jan. 18 (4 to 10 p.m.) and Saturday, Jan. 19 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

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IceFest 2019 will happen Friday, Jan. 18 (4 to 10 p.m.) and Saturday, Jan. 19 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

To the delight of many children, Pokémon character Pikachu will be at this year’s IceFest in Hamilton, even cooler than usual, and bigger than many of the kids themselves.

“Somebody is doing a five-block Pikachu sculpture, so that means it’s going to be five feet tall,” said Taylor Welch, sponsor chairman for IceFest. “Kids will absolutely love that, taking a picture with it.”

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Also there, and bigger than Pikachu, will be “Mr. Monopoly,” of the board-game fame, with other classic Monopoly pieces, chess pieces, and Nintendo characters, including Mario and Yoshi.

“There’ll be a lot of stuff that people will recognize,” Welch said. “And there’ll be a lot of stuff that kids recognize, which is the fun part, because kids get excited about Pikachu and Yoshi, and stuff like that.”

The festival will happen Friday, Jan. 18 (4 to 10 p.m.) and Saturday, Jan. 19 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

The presenting sponsor of the festival, which happens in Hamilton during alternate years, is Kettering Health Network. This year’s theme is “Game Night,” which can take in many things, including board games, video games, classic arcades, sports and other things.

“When a sponsor wants to do something, we do whatever they request,” Welch said. “The YMCA is planning on doing a basketball-themed ice sculpture, because they have a history with the creation of basketball. So as Game Night, it’s pretty open-ended.”

“On Friday night, we do the Fire & Ice carving show,” Welch said . “The carvers stack up 10 blocks of ice, and they stack it into something that would incorporate fire, and when they finish it, they put paper towels that are soaked in kerosene, and they light it on fire, so you have a big ice sculpture that has fire in the design.”

The Fire & Ice happens at 7 p.m. on the courthouse lawn, and is free. Those who visit can also see the sculptures at night, many of them backlit for extra visual drama.

On Saturday, as many as 12 sculptors will compete in Competition Alley to create the best artwork, with trophies and other awards at stake. That happens 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some will take the whole four hours to create their statues, and others won’t take nearly as long. The public will vote on its favorites. At 3 p.m., there will be a speed-carving event, with viewers trying to guess what the carvers are making.

IceFest asks that people interested in sponsoring ice sculptures put in their orders by Dec. 7. Those sponsorships begin at $400 and can be several thousands of dollars for the largest. People or companies wanting to sponsor sculptors can go to www.cityofsculpture.org and click on the IceFest tab. The email is hamiltoncityofsculpture@gmail.com.

IceFest is so big that Forest Park-based sculptor Jonathon Michaels said this week that workers already are creating and sawing into proper shapes the many ice blocks that later will be carved into the artworks.

The event is City of Sculpture’s primary fundraiser. There will be a children’s area, a bookmobile, miniature golf with ice sculptures, and other games, including checkers on tables made of ice.

There also will be the popular ice throne, with people enjoying taking photos of themselves sitting on it. Also present will be food trucks, arts and crafts and ice sculptures along High Street from Martin Luther King Boulevard to the Hamilton Welcome Center. Many shops will be open extra hours during the festival.

Funds usually are used to buy and maintain sculptures. City of Sculpture just bought one, including a large aluminum flower called Forest Treasure.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Watch as an ice sculpture is created during a previous year's IceFest in Hamilton.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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