It is that time of year, winter that is, when many town/cities are having their annual winter festivals and other such celebrations. A simple Google search will find one near you. Many of these events will incorporate carved ice sculptures. Some of them, like Downtown Wheaton, make the ice sculptures an event all their own.
One of the reasons we chose to attend Wheaton’s Ice Art Walk is because we were not familiar with their downtown area at all. This gave us an activity and a way to explore a new town all in one.
Not all of the storefronts had an ice sculpture, but they all seemed to be open for business. In addition to the ice walk, they hosted a Cocoa Walk for the first time. Participants could purchase a $5.00 mug and get a cocoa taster at 10 different stops. According to one vendor, all 500 mugs were sold before the event started. We decided to do the walk at the last minute and we missed out on the cocoa mug, but someone was nice enough to let me take a picture of theirs. It was a decent sized mug too – almost soup size!
The Downtown Wheaton Association mapped out each of the carvings and cocoa stops to make sure you didn’t miss a single one.
All of the ice sculptures were created by Chicago Ice Works and each of them represented the storefront it was displayed at. This baby rattle in front of A Baby Naturally had so much incredible detail to it:
They had one of the Chicago Ice Works sculptors creating one live while we were there. How they maintain control of such precise cuts, with a chainsaw no less, is beyond me.
The end result was Minnie Mouse (photo with permission from the Downtown Wheaton Association):
If you are going to attend an ice sculpture festival/walk, I would recommend getting there right when it starts. The day was still cold, but the sun was out so some of the sculptures showed signs of melting within an hour.
Of the 32 ice sculptures they had on display, here are a few more of my favorites:
While we were exploring the downtown area, we popped in and out of a few shops. We also stuck around for lunch. I don’t usually do restaurant reviews, but Suzette’s Creperie is too good not to mention. Suzette’s un-official restaurant week was on its last day and I took full advantage of it.
If the ice sculpture walks near you are done for the year, they will be back next year. It was a fun winter day date!