Text and photos by Ray Balogh
SYRACUSE — An octet of intrepid artisans braved a clear but bone-chilling midday to ply their ice carving skills during the 2022 Uptown Syracuse Winter Wonderland of Ice festival Saturday, Feb. 12, an annual event organized and sponsored by the Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce.
The carvers each took on two of the 16 sponsored 300-pound blocks of ice shipped in by City’s Pure Ice Inc. of La Porte. The blocks were distributed along the sidewalks in front of business for a block in every direction from the intersection of Huntington and Main streets.
The artist contingent was arranged by Michiana Ice Carvers Association, and included individuals from South Bend, Fort Wayne, Churubusco, Bluffton, La Porte and Edwardsburg, Mich.
Each carving was sponsored by a local business, with carvers receiving $100 for each block rendered into a piece of art relevant to the respective business. Sponsors were:
• Bowen Center
• Cafe Liefde
• Crossroads Bank
• Kelly Jae’s Lakeside
• Main Channel Marina
• Mohawk Pier & Lift
• My Red Moon
• National Fidelity Title
• Northwest Bank
• Peterson’s Fish
• Pro Wake Watersports
• RE/MAX Partners
• Socks Marina
• Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce
• The Papers Inc.
• Track & Channel Bait & Tackle
The number of sculptures was prodigious compared to previous festivals, according to Renea Salyer, executive director of the Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce. “The last couple years we haven’t had as many blocks, only six or seven,” she said.
“The festival is becoming more well known, and it has been a great experience this year with a great number of sponsorships. The ice carvers are very talented.”
The carvers began their work at 10 a.m. and were finished by early afternoon. The continued frigid weather ensures that passersby will still have a good view of the artistry throughout the weekend and into next week.
A fuller article on the event will appear in the Wednesday, Feb. 16, edition of The Mail-Journal. Following is a gallery of Saturday’s activities: