Like the Ice? Our Favorite Things About Ice Festival
Originally published Dec 15, 2009
By, Crystal A. Proxmire
Along the streets of Downtown Ferndale, ice sculptures glistened in the reasonably warm winter sun while volunteers traded cookies for donations at the seventh annual Ferndale Ice Festival. The festival brought many merry memories to families throughout the community.
The most obvious thing about Ice Fest is the ice. Champion ice carver Tajana Rauka of Plymouth decked the streets with carved-ice replications of cartoon characters, store logos, and other chilly items. In front of Pinwheel Bakery, John and Lyle Ulinski joined a statue of Snoopy the cartoon dog to share cookies on behalf of Good Neighbors Garden. A tall clear stiletto marked the entrance to Allure Kourture, while the ladies of Boston Tea Room and Candle Wick Shop posed with their stone-cold Wonder Woman. “The sculptures are peeerrrrty,” said Ferndale photographer Brita Brooks, a sentiment shared with hundreds of visitors throughout the day.
On E. Nine Mile an exotic display awaited those who ventured into one of the city’s old alleys. “It was very cool to see the town bustling with activity and hearing the oooohs and ahhhs from the children walking through the Ice Jungle in the new pedestrian alley behind Dinos,” said Dino’s owner Dean Bach. The alley was home to several creatures not typically associated with cold weather – like the graceful giraffes, a funny monkey, an elephant, a toucan and more.
At the other end of the Nine Mile stretch, visitors lined up to sit on Santa’s lap while others petted genuine Finnish reindeer or loaded up on the back of a trailer for a hayride around town. The Ferndale Schools Fine Arts Boosters set up a warming tent nearby and many stores, bars and restaurants had special entertainment for the day. Carrie Copeland admitted that that craft fair held at Affirmations Community Center was her favorite part of the festival, while Jennifer Herman loved the live music and Frank Castronova said his favorite thing was “although Ferndale couldn’t possibly take the credit – the great weather!”
In addition to giving families a fun day out together, The Ice Festival brought shoppers to the area and helped raise money for eleven charities. The annual Warm-Hearted Cookie Challenge pairs businesses with a charity for the day, allowing them to trade cookies for donations in front of their store.
Molly Banest, Kat Hodge and Patrick Reiter were three students from St. James raising money to go to Spain. Their goal is to go in 2011. Other groups benefiting from the cookie bake-off were Affirmations, FernCare, The Judson Center, The Ferndale Community Foundation and more. Organizer Sharon Chess says that though the final numbers aren’t in, the charity cookie drive has brought in over $800 more than the $1,500 collected last year. The winning group and their recipe will be announced in the next issue of The Ferndale 115 News.