Ithaca’s Winter Festival Coming 12/10 & 12/11

Downtown Ithaca’s annual Parade of Ice and Winter Festival has expanded for 2010 and will include an international ice carving competition, Ithaca’s Ice Wars, as well as the 1st annual Chowder Cook-Off. On Friday December 10th and Saturday December 11th Downtown Ithaca will play host to world-class ice carvers demonstrating their craft live on the Commons. Friday’s action gets started at 5pm with a one block “carve and deliver” challenge. Carvers will have three hours to carve and deliver an ice sculpture to a downtown location. Saturday’s festivities start at 9am and will include two rounds of ice carving competitions as well as the opportunity to sample twenty chowders from area restaurants. This year’s expanded Ice Carving format is an outgrowth of last year’s successful Holiday Parade of Ice Events in which participants were able to witness the creation of two block sculptures by four professional ice carvers. This year the Downtown Ithaca Alliance once again teamed up with The Ice Farm of Auburn, New York but rather than one competition with four carvers, as in last year’s competition, this year 16 carvers have been invited to compete for an overall prize purse of $9,000. The series of carving competitions will be hosted by Stanley Kolonko, world class ice carver and owner of the Ice Farm. Mr. Kolonko has competed internationally; including wins and places at the Harbin International Ice Sculpture Competition in China, the World Ice Art Championships in Alaska, and at the Crystal Garden International Ice Sculpting competition in Ottawa, Canada.In addition to Friday’s “carve and deliver” competition, Saturday will feature two challenges. At 9am competitors will face the one block speed carve single elimination competition. During this contest each participant will have 20 minutes to create a unique ice sculpture. Thirty total sculptures will be produced during this round. In the afternoon, the third and final round will involve a National Ice Carving Association sanctioned event with a two block carving competition. Ice blocks will be carved in place over a period of four hours. This final round will account for the majority of the competition’s points and promises to produce stunning pieces.In addition to the Ice Wars taking place on Friday and Saturday, Downtown Ithaca will also host a Chowder Festival on Saturday, December 11th from 12noon to 4pm on the Commons. Similar in format to the Chili Cook-off that takes place in February; twenty restaurants will compete for the title of Downtown Ithaca’s best chowder. Attendees to the winter festival will be able to purchase tickets to taste a variety of chowders and determine the winners through a people’s choice ballot system. For more information on Ithaca’s Ice Wars, the Chowder Cook-Off and all of Downtown Ithaca’s planned holiday events visit downtownithaca.com.

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