Shiver of Delight
Kid Reporter goes behind the chilly scenes at the Plymouth International Ice Sculpture Spectacular
Kid Reporter Kayla Gough with an eagle carved out of ice and its creator at the Plymouth International Ice Sculpture Spectacular. (Photo courtesy Kayla Gough)
Four hundred thousand pounds of ice were chiseled and sawed into sculptures at the Plymouth International Ice Sculpture Spectacular, which took place January 25-27 in southeastern Michigan. It's the oldest and largest event of its kind in North America. Over 500,000 people came to Plymouth to look at the icy art displayed in the town square at Kellogg Park, even though the temperature was a cold 23 degrees.
The show is part event, part contest. Each day, individual sculptors and groups competed for cash prizes. The competition was divided among high-school students, college students, and professionals. Sculptors came from all over the world, including Japan, Canada, Russia, Norway, and Switzerland.
The sculptors were each given a 330-pound chunk of ice to turn into a gorgeous sculpture while the crowd watched. They used chainsaws, chisels, blowtorches, sandpaper, handsaws, picks, and other tools to carve feathers, scales, eyes, and more into the large blocks of ice.
High-school students, college sculptors, and professional ice carvers crafted over 100 ice sculptures. Several works stood out. A dragon eyed you greedily as you walked down one pathway. A six-foot dinosaur with lifelike scales seemed like it was going to come alive right before your eyes. Many sculptures had things frozen inside them, like a piggy bank with pennies suspended in it and hearts with red roses in the middle. Statues of SpongeBob SquarePants and Scooby-Doo were also carved out of ice.The Scholastic Kids Press Corp asked Robert Schultz, one of the judges, how they rate these ice sculptures.
|A winged horse is carved out of ice at the Plymouth International Ice Sculpture Spectacular. (Photo courtesy Kayla Gough)|
"The first thing that comes to mind is first impressions. What I like to call it is looking for the wow effect," Schultz said. "When you look at the ice sculpture, it should be crystal-clear. There"s no slush on it. There"s no chainsaw marks on it. The sculpture is naturally smooth, if it"s meant to be smooth."
Believe it or not, it's possible to make a career out of ice carving. Schultz said many ice carvers do sculptures for restaurants, parties, and big events. Some travel around the world to do their sculpting. There"s even a professional organization called the National Ice Carving Association.
Schultz also talked about how this year"s sculptors created color within the ice by adding food coloring to gelatin and suspending it in the ice. At night, the sculptures were lit up, with dazzling colors behind them.
It's too bad the ice sculptures don"t last forever. At the end of the three-day festival, they were broken apart and left to melt.
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Kayla M. Gough is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.