Shipshewana predicts ice in the forecast for December 27-29, as the town hosts its annual Shipshewana Ice Festival, a popular event for both locals and tourists.
Food chefs and members of the Michiana Ice Carvers Association will use a combined 30,000 or more pounds of ice to carve approximately 40 sculptures in varying shapes, from animals and toys to popular people, nostalgic food, and other interesting objects.
The Ice Festival, having gained national recognition, also boasts being the only venue between the Midwest and Alaska as having the highest concentration of large ice sculptures, using 10 blocks or more of ice to create intricate and spectacular carvings.
Thursday, December 27
Carvers begin their work at 9:00 a.m. and work throughout the day to create their sculptures. Observers are invited to watch how the carvers transform ice blocks into works of art.
New this year is the Ice Festival Pageant in the Davis Mercantile Theater, also on Thursday, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Westview senior girls will vie for the crown and cash prizes.
Friday, December 28
A competition carving will take place from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., with ten master carvers competing for cash prizes. This competition that typically attracts large crowds is located near the south entrance of the Davis Mercantile on Harrison Street, downtown.
Saturday, December 29
From 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., the Chili Cook-Off will be held at the Davis Mercantile parking lot. Event sponsor E & S Sales invites interested contestants to call 260-463-6175 for more information. The public is invited to attend and taste, to roast marshmallows, and weather permitting, to build a snowman.
Purchase an Ice Festival Pin
Several retailers offer this commemorative item for purchase, which in turn affords shoppers exclusive discounts in some stores through January 31. The pin also allows for free entrance into Saturday’s Chili Cook-Off.
Experience The ‘Wow’ Factor
“This is the fifth year for Shipshewana to host the annual Ice Festival, and each year it grows not only in number of attendees, but also in the ‘wow’ factor of the sculptures,” said Beth Thornburg, Executive Director for LaGrange County CVB. “We look forward to the event all year. We talk about different ice carving designs and how the sculptures can be bigger and better than the year before.
“The Shipshewana Ice Festival most definitely will not disappoint.”