Ice festival brings together sculptors and families

NOW: Ice festival brings together sculptors and families

This weekend Niles is hosting the 15th annual Hunter Ice Festival.

They are honoring the legacy of the Hunter Brothers Ice and Ice Cream Company as world class ice sculptors transform over 27 tons or 180 blocks of ice into beautiful art that you can go see and watch how they are made.

People from all over Michiana are coming to see all the incredible ice sculptures that have been

Dean DeMarais says, “I’m just here to carve ice and to play with my chainsaws for a while.”

Ice, ice, and more ice.

It is just one of the things that is bringing people to the Hunters Ice Festival in Niles this weekend.

Whether you just want to “just get outdoors in the wintertime and stuff” and, “coming to see the carvings and the neat things they can do.”

Or seeing snow for the first time, like Gabriella, who is a Brazilian exchange student at Riley High School this semester.

Gabriella said, “It’s beautiful!” when she saw the snow, “It’s wonderful like I’ve never seen anything like this. So I’m in love with everything here. The games and the sculptures.”

There is definitely some winter magic at work in downtown Niles.

Niles resident, Victor Lyons was so excited to see the art and says, “it is amazing seeing all the sculptures and seeing how people can turn ice into amazing things.”

And one of the people making magic by bringing over 27 tons of ice to life is master ice carver, Dean DeMarais.

DeMarais is from Dallas, Texas and says he fell in love with ice carving in a pretty unique place, “I was studying to be a chef after high school. We did this probably a year into the program and I never looked back.”

Even though it is brutal work and quite the workout, DeMarais says, “I burn 5 to 7,000 calories a day doing this.”

And this year’s rainy weather hasn’t been the greatest in keeping the sculptures frozen.

DeMarais says, “I’ll say it it’s miserable, flat out miserable.”

But even with the not so perfect weather, that did not stop the ice carvers or the Michiana community from coming out for a night of winter fun.

Residents exclaimed, "it’s cold but not to the point where we don’t wanna come out."

DeMarais remarked, "Oh seeing the kids, the people young and old, all of them! Being able to create a little of what you want and a little bit of what someone else wants to try and to try and make everyone happy."

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