Arts & Entertainment, Lakeshore, and Travel & Tourism

Downtown Holland freezes for live Ice Sculpting Competition

January 4, 2013
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Downtown Holland chills with live ice-sculpting competition
The Downtown Holland Ice Sculpting Competition draws about 2,000 attendees. Photo via

Downtown Holland’s fifth annual Ice Sculpting Competition is being held this weekend.

Thirty students from five Midwest culinary arts programs will compete during the weekend, using chisels, knives, torches and chainsaws to design their unique creations.

Students compete in two events: the compulsory competition, which will be held on Friday evening from 6-8 p.m., and the freestyle competition, which will be held from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday.

The event takes place on Eighth Street between River and College streets.

Downtown Holland event coordinator Lexi Johnson said the event is unique and attendees have a great time. She also noted that the ice blocks weigh between 100 and 300 pounds, so the final sculptures are quite large.

In addition to watching the sculptors, attendees are also invited to enjoy the interactive ice works that have been created for their enjoyment. In the past, these sculptures have included a tic-tac-toe board, a giant ice chair for funny photos, the opportunity to slip your face into an Eskimo family made of ice or to take home your name sculpted in a small block of ice.

Restaurants and stores always are hopping during the downtown event, Johnson said, and most retail stores will have extended hours to accommodate shoppers. The event typically draws about 2,000 attendees.

Participating schools are the Art Institute of Michigan, Grand Rapids Community College, Henry Ford Community College, Oakland Community College and the University of Akron. The event is held in partnership between the National Ice Carving Association and Downtown Holland.

Visit Downtown Holland's website for the event for more information.

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