The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ice carving comes to Ironwood


December 8, 2020


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Ironwood – An ice carving contest in Ironwood’s new Downtown City Square over the weekend only drew two participants, but organizers called it a success.

The event was part of the Ironwood’s First Friday and continued on Saturday, drawing a few dozen spectators stopping by to watch the creations take shape.

“I thought we would have gotten more sign ups since it would be easy to socially distance for ice carving, but I think this is just a weird year and we are just not getting the kind of activity we normally would,” said organizer Emily Fitting, who founded the Northern Elves Festival, which helped to put on the event.

Local artist Doug Kikkebusch was joined by Fitting on the park’s stage as they both took their first cracks at ice sculpting. Four 300-pound blocks of ice were provided for the event.

Kikkebusch, a local artist known for his glass blowing and metal work, said he had always wanted to do ice sculpting, and was eager to jump at the opportunity to try the medium.

“I love it. I could do this all winter that would be great,” Kikkebusch said Saturday as he used a chain saw to create something from the squared-off block of ice. “I could hardly sleep last night honestly. I was so excited to get back that I showed up here when the sun was coming up.”

Fitting said that ice carving, and carving in general, was a new skill for her as she is a graphic design artist by trade.

Kikkebusch carved a castle and a toy robot, and Fitting carved a candle and a Christmas tree.

The ice carving was the only event for the December First Friday. Tim Erickson, the city’s coordinator of First Friday events, said the pandemic prevented them from doing anything more with this month’s celebration.

This was the third season for the NoEl Festival, or Northern Elves Festival, said Fitting. It usually coincides with the Jack Frost Festival and December’s First Friday.

Fitting said she was surprised with the amount of people that stopped to see the ice sculptures over the two days.

She estimated that at least 30 people had stopped to watch them carve on Saturday alone.

She said that they did the carvings on the stage so that they would be visible from the road. The carvings will remain at the city center until they melt, according to Erickson.


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