Warm weather ahead for Hunter Ice Festival

This week’s forecast is expected to bring a welcome break for most folks in Michiana who’ve had enough of that frigid cold weather.

But in downtown Niles, an icy weekend is ahead and the unseasonably warm temperatures aren’t exactly ideal.

It’s the middle of the winter season but Program Manager for Niles DDA Main Street Lisa Croteau says there’s a problem.

“The rain. Rain melts ice, water melts ice,” said Croteau.

Its simple science with a much less simple solution.

“We can control what we can control and Mother Nature is not one of those things,” said Croteau.

This weekend, downtown Niles will host the 13th annual Hunter Ice Festival.

And while moving hundreds of pounds of ice is in the city’s control, the weather is not.

“Might have to get creative as the end of the week comes but I think well manage,” said Croteau.

Warmer than usual temperatures for this time of year are expected but the carvers who arrive to this year’s festival are used to carving 300 pound blocks of ice in any type of weather.

According to Croteau, warm and rainy weekends haven’t stopped folks from checking out those stone cold sculptures in years past.

“In one we had guestimated 20,000 people came to town over three days,” said Croteau.

Croteau admits this weekend’s forecast isn’t ideal for breaking the ice but she says concerns over warmer temperatures at an ice festival are a bit of an overreaction.

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