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Fête de Glace Promises Frosty Fun on Saturday

The 14th annual "festival of ice" event will feature ice sculptors at work, plus plenty of entertainment, food and family activities.

The 14th annual Fête De Glace Ice Carving competition will be in on Saturday. The free event will be held on North Main Street, between Jefferson and Monroe Streets, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Penny Pittman, president of the Historic Downtown Association and co-chair of Fête de Glace, said the day will start with team ice carving around 9:30 a.m. Each team will use five blocks of ice, resulting in one “monster carving” per team.

The ice carvers bring their art to life using a bevy of tools that includes chainsaws, power grinders, sanders, handsaws and knives, hot irons and cold spray.

Pittman said a favorite monster carving was a Roman gladiator, complete with shield and “a great big plume on his helmet,” about 8 feet tall.

“If the weather’s nice and cold, they can do more delicate things with the ice, but if it’s too warm, the sculptures get more blocky,” Pittman said. “One of my favorite monster sculptures was a few years back when it was cold. A sculptor made a skier with very fine ski poles, going down a hill.”

Following the team competition, the individual competition will run from 12:30 to 3 p.m. In this part of the competition, individual artists use single blocks of ice that weigh 260 pounds each. There is a master carvers division and a newcomer division.

Attendees will have a chance to vote on their favorite sculpture in each cateogry.

She added that after audience members cast their votes, they should return the ballots to the information area to be counted.  Adults and kids are invited to vote on their favorites, and the people’s choice awards will be distributed at 3 p.m.

There are plenty of ways to entertain the family at Fête de Glace including an imaginary theater, entertainment and more. Some restaurants open early for breakfast and fire pits will be located on the street so people can warm up.

Framations Art Gallery will hold its second annual Valentine’s Trunk Show, which features jewelry and accessories made by local artists during the show. Admisison is free.

“It’s a great excuse to get to just get outside if you’ve got cabin fever,” Pittman said. “We’ve never counted the crowd, but based on the number of ballots we get, we have several thousand people who show up. It’s always fun.”

For more information about the Fête de Glace competition event, visit the Historic St. Charles website.

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