Thursday, January 9, 2003

Hamilton event spans two days

By Rob Phillips
Enquirer contributor

[photo] Jeff Stahl, owner-operator of Artic Diamond Inc. in Forest Park, uses a chainsaw to carve a 330-pound ice block into a graceful porpoise Wednesday in front of One Renaissance Center in downtown Hamilton.
(Michael Snyder photos)
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HAMILTON - The Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower and an African safari will make appearances in downtown Hamilton.

Until they melt.

These and about 80 other ice sculptures will be displayed during the second annual IceFest, expanded to two days, on Jan. 24-25.

"It's going to be even bigger and better this year," said Debbie Bridge, director of the Hamilton Convention and Visitor's Bureau. An estimated 10,000 people attended last year's festival.

IceFest 2003 has added an amateur photo contest and laser light show, among other highlights.

[photo] The finished porpoise ice sculpture
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To celebrate the bicentennials of both Ohio and Butler County, "Ohio Frozen in Time" bicentennial ice sculptures and a 12-foot frozen replica of the Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument in Hamilton will be displayed.

"The monument sculpture really turned out great and is quite impressive," said Jeff Stahl of Artic Diamond Inc. Mr. Stahl and two colleagues will spend three weeks carving the 80 sculptures from 30 tons of ice.

Children can stay busy during the festival playing miniature golf through a frozen African safari or posing for pictures on an ice throne, Ms. Bridge said.

The Hamiltonian Hotel will give those attending IceFest a place to warm up on Friday evening. The hotel's lobby will be transformed into a full-service lodge called "Fire and Ice." For $15, attendants can enjoy an informal evening conversing with others and listening to live music.

On Jan. 25, about 15 professional ice-sculptors will compete in a four-hour contest.

"We have a person coming all the way from France this year to compete," Ms. Bridge said.

IceFest Highlights

Jan. 24

• Technicolor Ice Walk and "Ohio Frozen in Time" bicentennial ice sculptures, Courthouse square. Begins 8 p.m.

• Amateur photo contest begins

• "Fire and Ice Lodge," The Hamiltonian Hotel. $15. 6:30-11:30 p.m.

Jan. 25

• Ice Sculpting competitions 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

• Technicolor Ice Walk and "Ohio Frozen in Time" bicentennial ice sculptures

• Children's activities, including African safari putt-putt

• Guided tours of Butler County Courthouse

• Amateur photo contest

• "Spirit of America" Laser Light Show, 6:30 p.m., Courthouse area.

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