Jan. 7, 2015 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
The decorations have been taken down, gifts put away, several toys already broken and the holidays for 2014 are officially in the past.
Time to celebrate 2015 with the 33rd Annual Plymouth Ice Festival arriving next Friday throughout downtown and Kellogg Park.
“It will be a great festival. There will be something for everyone,” noted organizer and producer James Geitzen of JAG Entertainment.
From the moment the ice ribbon is cut by officials at 7 Friday night, and the Fire and Ice towers, sponsored by Reyka Vodka, are lit for the first time at about 7:30 p.m., people can begin to enjoy the first festival of the year and the largest free ice festival in the state.
Moved to an earlier weekend this year, the Ice Festival will be open from 3-10 p.m. Friday, from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Geitzen said that while the Fire and Ice towers are a huge attraction, with flames engulfed inside the blocks of ice lighting up the sky, the event that always draws the largest crowd to the festival is the dueling chainsaws competition set for 7 p.m. Saturday on the main stage in Kellogg Park.
“That event, by far, draws the largest crowd every year. There are these guys, armed with running chainsaws, dueling it out to see who can carve their block of ice the fastest. People love it,” Geitzen said. “It really is amazing to watch.”
Geitzen said visitors this year will also be sure to enjoy The Detroit Red Wings interactive display which will allow people to find out just how fast they can shoot a hockey puck and how accurate their wrist shot actually is.
“Health Alliance Plan teamed up with the Red Wings to bring the displays. I think it will be a lot of fun. After all, this is a hockey town.”
Sun and Snow will again be offering free cross-country skiing instruction and allow visitors to strap on the right-size gear and give the sport a try. Seasoned professional will be on hand, courtesy of Blue Care Network of Michigan and Sun and Snow Sports, to offer lessons and demonstrations. Then give kids a chance to try it for themselves. The Cross Country Zone will be open throughout the entire festival, Geitzen said.
Obviously, Geitzen said, there will be live entertainment in the park throughout the weekend, including awards ceremonies, presentations and music, sponsored on the Main Stage by Community Financial Credit Union.
The DTE Energy Hot Spot Warming Tent under the Gathering directly across from Kellogg Park will feature more than 20 local vendors and businesses along with a sitting area.
Genisys Credit Union is sponsoring the individual and team College Carving Competitions this year. The individual event takes place from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday and the team carving competition will take place from 8 a.m. until noon on Sunday. The awards to the winners will be presented at 1 p.m.
The sculptures will be displayed in front of businesses throughout the downtown area, he said, and merchants have been more than generous in funding the carvings.
“People don’t realize sometimes that the businesses pay for these ice carvings, they aren’t just a free part of the event. They do it to help add to the atmosphere of the event and make the festival more attractive for everybody.”
The other big attraction of the weekend, Geitzen said, is the Party Lot behind E.G. Nick’s on Forest Avenue. This year, the ice bar will again be serving Svedka Vodka specialties in front of the restaurant, while the Party Lot in the rear will feature live entertainment, drinks and the atmosphere of fun that has made the tent such a popular attraction.
“It’s the place to be for the evening crowd, that’s for sure,” Geitzen said. “These guys really know how to have a good time.”
Sponsors of the 2015 festival include HAP, Metro Detroit GMC Buick Dealers, Ally Financial, Johnson Controls, Genysis Credit Union, St. John Providence Health System, the U.S. Army, the Boston Beer Co., Blue Care Network, Fox 2 News and radio station 93.9 The River.
The festival website is plymouthicefestival.com