Monday, February 1, 2016

The Iceman Cometh

Fete de Glace
Saturday was Fete de Glace, an ice festival complete with an ice carving competition in St. Charles, Missouri. I have never attended this event before, so when a fellow photographer friend asked me to go with her, I jumped at the chance. We arrived around noon to find the streets crowded with people and all kinds of dogs. That made for good people watching in addition to seeing the ice men in action.

The weather was unseasonably warm at 66 degrees, and while the temperature was great for the attendees, it created a few challenges for the competitors. Several of the sculptures were already completed by the time we hit the streets. The warm, sunny day was taking its toll on them, and like the Wicked Witch of the West in the "Wizard of Oz" they were melting...melting into the cobbled pavers on Main Street.

ice art

ice carving tools
The workmanship was incredible, and it was interesting to see the tools of the trade that were used. From the chain saws at the beginning of the process to the scalpels wielded like surgeons at the end, it was something to experience. When I see artistic efforts like this, I always wonder how the creators feel knowing that their design is so short-lived, not unlike sand sculptures and sidewalk chalk drawings. That would make me sad.

We had a nice lunch at Lewis & Clark's before rejoining the crowds in the streets. We were lucky enough to have timed it so that we saw a few new blocks of ice being reinvented. It was obvious that it takes patience, skill and vision to create these frozen works of art. What a fun day!

ice men

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