Ice demonstration heats up downtown

Brianne Carlon

Children and adults stared in awe as teddy bears and birds emerged from solid blocks of ice.

Nine members of the Kent State and University of Akron ice-carving teams created sculptures as part of the “Make Mine with Ice” Ice Carving Demonstration held Saturday afternoon downtown.

Despite temperatures in the teens, about 150 people showed up throughout the three-hour demonstration, said Jeff Ingram, executive director of Standing Rock Cultural Arts, who helped organize the event.

“It’s a chance to see some great sculptures created right before your eyes,” he said.

Downtown Innovative Community Events has been running the annual demonstration for four years. This year, Main Street Kent helped sponsor the event as well.

The goal of Main Street Kent is to revitalize downtown, and this event is a good start, director Mary Gilbert said.

“Hopefully, if they stay here and watch the ice carving, they will go have dinner at one of the local restaurants, go to Ray’s to have a beer or go shop in one of the shops,” she said.

It worked.

Laura Scarnecchia, an employee at Lasso the Moon Jewelry and Gifts, said it was the store’s best day ever.

“We consistently had at least 20 people in here every 15 minutes compared to a normal day of five people every hour,” she said. “I would say we had a 60 to 70 percent increase in business, and everyone has been at the ice-sculpture show.”

Anthony Kwan, owner of Anthony’s Caf‚ and Cake, said he stayed open late for the event.

“It (business) was more than double what we usually get,” he said.

City Manager Dave Ruller said the benefits go beyond the day of the event.

“It’s the buzz we’re creating about so many different things going on downtown, even in the deep freeze of winter,” he said. “The real pay is the long-term redefinition of what Kent’s downtown is all about.”

Any student interested in joining the Kent State Ice-Carving Team can contact John Goehler at [email protected].

Contact public affairs reporter Brianne Carlon at [email protected].