'It really is all about community': 2024 Plymouth Ice Festival kicks off

'This event really is the biggest economic driver for our downtown businesses'
Posted at 6:25 PM, Feb 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-02 23:29:46-05

PLYMOUTH, Mich. (WXYZ) — Friday and this weekend, people are headed to the Plymouth Ice Festival. Talented artists created unique sculptures out of blocks of ice for the annual event.

It's all on display in Kellogg Park and along the streets downtown.

Plymouth-area residents Roger and Mickey Collins observed a team of sculptors turning a block of ice into a work of art. They said attending the festival is an annual tradition, and they're passing it on.

“We thought we’d bring our grandson down today to see the ice sculptures, and he was interested in all the tools that were using,” Mickey Collins explained.

“He’s a little tool man. He’s loves his tools," Roger Collins said. "Chainsaws, sanders."

The Collins said it’s their grandson Noah’s first ice festival, and he’s excited to watch live ice carvings by sculptors like Ken Diederich and his crew.

Diederich, with Cleveland-based Elegant Ice, said he expects lots more curious on-lookers like Noah to gather around because 36 degrees is considered warm in his profession.

“Oh, yeah. This is warm weather for the ice carvers. But you know, I’ll take it. I can manage it, and the people are going to come out in droves because of the weather," he explained.

"The best thing is the kids. I just had a kid over here, and they’re just like, ‘Why did they even do this?’ It’s like because we want to do something cool. No pun intended, but we want to do something cool, right?" Diederich added "So, everybody gets involved. Something different. You get the crowd out here. The aahhs, the oohhs, the wows."

Festival organizer James Gietzen said, “It really is all about community, and everything that the ice festival does here is to kind of help build that moving forward."

He said that includes the downtown businesses where ice sculptures can also be found outside of 24 establishments.

“This event really is the biggest economic driver for our downtown businesses. It’s kind of a slow period of time. We don’t have a ton of events during the winter,” Sam Plymale, director of the Plymouth Downtown Development Authority, said.

Gietzen said over a thousand pounds of dry ice have been used to help keep the sculptures cool, along with covering them in tarps.

The Plymouth DDA developed a bingo scavenger hunt in which prizes can be won. Information on the bingo scavenger can be found on the Plymouth DDA's website.

The 2024 Plymouth Ice Festival official hours of operation are listed below:

  • Friday, Feb. 2: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 3: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 4: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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