Inaugural Ice Festival Ball was a ball

Local magician Russ Niedzwiecki debuts his “cool” trick, created with the expert help of ice guru Randy Finch of Ice Sculptures Ltd. Photo by STACY NIEDZWIECKI—stacyn.com

“Let the Magic Begin” was the theme for the 2012 Ice Festival, and begin it did on Friday night with the first ever Ice Festival Ball. The Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) hosted the event at Blythefield Country Club (BCC). Ninety people gathered for a delicious three-course meal by the BCC culinary artists. After dinner, guests were treated to the musical talents of Blue Star Pilot, a band of four top-shelf musicians, two of whom are Rockford graduates.

The wizardry of Russ Niedzwiecki got the magic flowing. He teamed up with ice guru Randy Finch to perform a trick that had jaws dropping. A giant deck of cards was frozen in the ice. Niedzwiecki had the crowd help select a card and, sure enough, that was the card facing the wrong way in the frozen deck. He continued to amaze guests throughout the evening, going table to table, making cards appear, disappear, change colors—all to the common refrain of “How did he do that?”

Magician Russ Niedzwiecki strolls through the guest tables, looking to share a laugh or two. Photo by STACY NIEDZWIECKI—stacyn.com

And the treats kept coming. While the band took a break, the audience was once again astounded at the talent the Rockford community has to offer. Under the direction of Rockford grad Rachel Siegel, a dance troupe from Western Michigan University delighted guests with its fresh choreography and style. A silent auction of art, set up by art teacher Barb Kent from the Rockford High School art department, was available for guests to bid on during the evening. All proceeds from the silent auction were returned to the art department to support their efforts.

Ice Festival Ball udience members enjoy a bit of the pre-dinner magic show. Photo by STACY NIEDZWIECKI—stacyn.com

Throughout it all, people danced, dined, laughed, talked and were generally transformed, in part, by the indoor winter wonderland created through the decorating talents of Kathy Levin.

“We were very pleased with the way things turned out,” said the planning committee from RAAC. “Many thanks to our sponsors and our wonderful Rockford community for making this a special evening!”

Sponsors for the event included Blythefield Country Club, the Wolverine World Wide YMCA, who made babysitting available, the Alpine Meijer Store, Blakeslee Rop PLC and Fluis Inc.

Guest Janell VanDine summed it all up by saying, “I can’t wait for next year!”

To catch a glimpse of what you missed, visit www.artsrockford.org or find the Rockford Area Arts Commission on Facebook and Twitter.

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