Culture Nut: Magical Ice-Carving Festival in St. Joe in its 9th Year

2012-11-22T00:00:00Z 2014-10-28T11:01:15Z Culture Nut: Magical Ice-Carving Festival in St. Joe in its 9th YearBy Megan Swoyer
November 22, 2012 12:00 am  • 

It’s all about speed this year for the Ninth Annual Magical Ice Carving Festival, February 8-10 in downtown St. Joseph, Michigan. Hopefully not in how fast the ice melts, but in how fast it’s carved, during the festival’s new speed-carving competition.

“This year, festival attendees will get to watch professional ice carvers go head to head in a timed speed carving competition on Saturday afternoon,” says Jill Stone, executive director of St. Joseph Today, an organization that promotes business and tourism development in the area. “Carvers square off in the ring right in the heart of downtown and have fifteen minutes to create their masterpiece, which will be judged for top honors and dollars.”

The speed-carving competition is one of several attractions going on during the festival, which is sanctioned by the National Ice Carving Association. Stone says attendees’ top reasons for heading out into the cold for the three-day icy extravaganza are to see the sculptures themselves (organizers plan to showcase more than sixty), the opportunity to watch carvers work, and to escape “the winter blues.” There’s also a Snobiz Scavenger Hunt, where “attendees can see what’s inside the ice sculptures of area business logos and win prizes,” Stone says. She also points visitors in the direction of Schu’s Grill Festival Tent, where they can warm up, order food and beverages, and check out live entertainment.

Kids will melt over the abundance of activities at Silver Beach Center, including carousel rides, new exhibits at the Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone, hula dance demonstrations, face painting and magic shows.

Back by popular demand this year is the second annual Fire & Ice reception, located at Shadowland Ballroom. It kicks off the weekend at 8 p.m. on Friday, and undoubtedly will warm up anyone with winter chills. Hawaiian fire dancers, a martini ice luge, tiki snack shack, live music by Joshua and Jeremy Sprague, and more round out the fun ($10 cover charge).

For more information, visit or call 269.985.1111.

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