Rockford Ice Festival offers something for everyone

Ice-FestThe Rockford Chamber of Commerce is excited to host the 4th Annual Rockford Ice Festival. The festival will be Friday, Feb. 8 through Sunday, Feb. 10, with ice sculptures on display in downtown Rockford that Saturday and Sunday. This year’s theme is Fire and Ice and organizers are certainly utilizing both ends of the temperature spectrum.

This year’s festival includes live carving demonstrations – picture power saws and drills – ice sculptures, a mini playable ice golf course, a scavenger hunt, photo contest, melt date contest and a snowman building contest. New additions to this year’s schedule are a Fire and Ice Chili Cook Off and Sweetheart Splash. Each year the festival has grown, with more than 10,000 coming to Rockford last year to celebrate the event.

Also, be sure to look for “Hot Spots” downtown. These special merchants are offering free, yes, free, “hot” items for you and your family. The items include hand warmers, red hot cinnamon candies, ice festival knit hats and other goodies sure to keep you warm. The merchants will also be offering “hot” deals for shoppers. Stores will be open on Saturday and Sunday.

“The Ice Festival Committee has worked hard to add events to the festival so that families have even more to do,” said Jeannie Gregory, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. “It is a fun way to slowly grow a festival. A wonderful group has organized a Chili Cook Off and it is sure to warm up visitors on a cold winter’s day. We are very excited to see the fun that will be going on in the Rotary Pavilion as they cook and sell tickets. Also, new to the event, but not to Rockford, is Rockford Rotary’s Sweetheart Splash. It is a sure-fire way for families to have fun as people prove their love by jumping into the icy Rogue.”

The Rockford Arts Commission’s Ice Festival Snow Ball kicks off the event on Feb. 8 at Thousand Oaks Golf Club. This wonderful dance features a live band, entertainment and delicious food – the perfect Valentine’s date. Go to www.artsrockford.com for more information.

The ice sculptures – carved by nationally famous Randy Finch and his crew from Ice Gurus Unlimited – will be on display Saturday and Sunday. Visitors will see plenty of beautiful sculptures with new designs. The active mini-golf course will also feature beautiful ice displays and is one of the highlights for families. A crowd favorite, the live ice carvings will take place on both Saturday and Sunday. The carvings will take place at Reds on the River, Corner Bar, Herman’s Boy, and near the Rockford Rotary Pavilion.

The Chili Cook Off, sponsored by ChoiceOne Bank, will be taking place in the Rockford Rotary Pavilion on Saturday, Feb. 9. The stoves fire up at 7:30 a.m. and samples will be available at noon and will be served until 2 p.m. – or until samples run out, whichever comes first. This is a wonderful fundraiser for the North Kent Community Service Center, so not only are you sharing your wonderful chili with visitors, but are also raising funds for the organization – a true way for neighbors to help neighbors.

For more information and to sign up for this event, please go to www.SignUpGenius.com/go/70A0C44A8AF2EA2-rockford/5980034. Registration is free!

Those looking for fun can watch Rockford Rotary Club’s Sweetheart Splash. This is the 10th year that folks crazy in love prove it by taking a dunk into the icy waters of the Rogue River. This fun event is highlighted by music and skits and begins at 1 p.m. at the Dam Overlook.

Snow permitting, there will be a snowman building contest at the old Northland Pontiac Parking Lot from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The event will offer kits for $10 and the proceeds will benefit North Kent Community Services.

“We will have brochures downtown with a schedule of events, or people can go onto our website at www.rockfordicefestival.com,” Gregory said. “We want everyone to come down and enjoy the beauty of ice and winter in Rockford. Randy Finch and his crew are amazing artists, and we love showcasing their beautiful pieces. It is a great time to get everyone out of the house and get rid of those mid-winter blues.”

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