|2/1/2012 9:55:00 AM|
THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER-Winter brings an air of excitement
|Residents of Eastern Wisconsin have escaped what amounts to the longest most gruelling of the winter months, relatively unscathed this season. |
For Kiel and the surrounding area, it seems that the onset of Ice Sculpture time brings about that rare escape from cabin fever-a winter festival designed to break the Tundra doldrums.
After a brisk walk to stir the mind on a 45 degree Tuesday, it was almost inconceivable to start typing about the "winter" festival that lies ahead.
After all, Ice Sculpture year #4 brought early morning temperatures some 75 degrees colder than that. Regardless, Saturday will be yet another one of those fun winter Saturdays when carvers will battle those 300 pound blocks of ice. Maybe they will be battling the elements, too.
This year's chairperson, Jeff McCarey, reports that we have approximately the same number of carving teams as the event has supported the past 3-4 years.
Somewhere in the range of 40 teams will compete for top honors with their own conceptions of icy art.
And, for one very amazing day, Kiel will have a series of art works that glisten in the sunlight.
Motorists will slow down to watch, much to the chagrin of those following them.
Walkers will be out in force-couples, families, even kids and dogs will make the loop around the main business district, looking for their favorite carvings.
For me, it's a truly fun day to get out on Fremont Street and interact with all the friends and neighbors that pass by.
By now, some 21 years into the event, a lot of groups have their traditions-practices they have built up over the years.
Our group likes to play lively tunes and entice our passers by to guess what we are sculpting. Truth be known, they often guess it before we do. And, we do have evidence to prove that we are smart enough to switch gears in midstream when crowd input points us to find something we didn't see in that block of ice.
Some carving teams renew old friendships once a year. Some scurry to get the job done so they can go on about other business. Some hit the chisel oil a bit too hard, provoking an early nap.
No matter their preferences, Kiel Ice Sculpting has something for everyone. And, I must say, 21 years into this event, it's still amazing to me to recall that a great number of business leaders told the event organizer that we could never pull something like this off in Kiel. Sure glad that Steve Nothem and his supporters didn't listen to the naysayers.