Hamilton Ice Festival - January 22, 2011
I'd heard of the Hamilton Ice Festival but had never attended. Though the intended frequency is every other year, last year was skipped for economic reasons so it has been three years since ice sculptures lined the streets of Hamilton, Ohio. I thought it was an annual event. That was not my only wrong assumption. Seeing two consecutive dates listed, I assumed Saturday and Sunday. Nope. It's Friday and Saturday so I could have been leisurely checking things out yesterday. More importantly, I could have been here last night when the sculptures are illuminated with colored lights. Guess I'll have to catch that next year -- or the year after.

I took the first picture as I approached the sculptures from the rear. They are displayed along the south side of High Street and sort of centered at the courthouse. Among the figures near the courthouse are the Cat in the Hat and Moishe (I think) from Where the Wild Things Are. Darth Vader got plenty of attention and looks pretty good with the sun behind him. A more normal view is here. Another kid pleaser, Lightning McQueen, was in the next block. The icy pitcher is Hamilton favorite son Joe Nuxhall. The youngest player ever in a major league game.

Artists could be seen at work on the street beside the courthouse. Various sized power drills were used for detail work after chain saws had extracted basic shapes. This is a competition with entrants having four hours to complete their fragile masterpieces.

The Children's Area included a miniature golf course carved from ice. The sun lit hilt is from the Sword in the Stone and the apple is from the Giving Tree. Local firefighters were honored with an ice sign and an intricately carved fireman. Spark of Hope by Aaric Kendall had a prominent spot. It's a duplicate of the carving that earned him and partner Benjamin Rand gold medals at the 2010 Cultural Olympiad in Vancouver. Here's a closer look at the bird. As I headed back toward my car, I couldn't resist a shot of the fur topped carver applying aome finishing touches and of the bill of fare posted by one of the vendors.

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