The 9th annual Rochester Fire & Ice Festival will host its inaugural collegiate ice carving competition on Saturday, Jan. 23 in downtown Rochester during the festival weekend. Students from six colleges and culinary arts programs will carve sculptures out of blocks of ice in hopes of grabbing top honors. The competition runs from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.
“We’re very excited to add the ice carving competition to Fire & Ice,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “We’ve tried to add something new to this wonderful celebration of winter each year. I encourage families to come out and support these talented and creative artists.”
The festival, which is presented by Oakland County Credit Union, runs Jan. 22-24 at East Water and Third streets in downtown Rochester.
The ice carving competition, sponsored by McDonald’s restaurants of Southeast Michigan, gives student ice sculptors a live session to hone their skills for the upcoming National Ice Carving Association (NICA) U.S. Collegiate Championships and Pro/Master Revisited Competition. Last year’s second- and third-place collegiate champions, Katlin Pfropper and Alex Wagner, were from Macomb Community College. Other ice artists will represent Oakland Community College, Henry Ford Community College, The Art Institute, Dorsey Schools and the University of Michigan.
Ronald McDonald will announce the top ice carver Saturday evening.
Fire & Ice highlights include fireworks at 8 p.m. on Jan. 23 and Jan. 24, sponsored by Hour Detroit and Soave Real Estate Group; the Big, Bright Light Show; the TasteFest & Beer Tent; and dozens of ice sculptures lining Main Street. This year’s Main Street ice sculpture theme is literary characters. Festivalgoers will also enjoy tube sledding, ice skating, snowshoeing, dogsled rides, cross country skiing, carriage rides, food trucks and face painting. Musical guest Jennifer Kincer & Friends will perform live on stage Friday and Saturday beginning about 7:20 p.m.
All winter activities are free.
“Tens of thousands of families attend the Rochester Fire & Ice Festival every year,” said J. David VanderVeen, chairperson of the Rochester Fire & Ice Committee and director of central services for Oakland County. “There truly is something for everyone thanks to the hard work of our partners and hundreds of volunteers.”
Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center will have a tent to adopt dogs and to renew or purchase dog licenses.
The Brooksie Way Chill at the Mills 5k Race returns on Sunday, Jan. 24. Runners may register at www.TheBrooksieWay.com or in person the morning of the race. The race begins and ends on Third Street in front of the Rochester Fire Station and follows the Paint Creek.
In addition, the Rochester Fire Department will host spaghetti dinners Friday and Saturday night and a pancake breakfast Sunday morning to support Rochester Area Youth Assistance.
Hour for the festival are 5 – 9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday. Parking is available in downtown Rochester or at Buffalo Wild Wings at 1234 Walton in Rochester. A free shuttle will run between the restaurant and the festival. Detailed event schedules are at DestinationOakland.com/FireAndIce or Facebook.com/FireAndIceRochester.
Oakland County, Oakland County Parks and Recreation, Rochester and Downtown Rochester host the event. The presenting sponsor is Oakland County Credit Union; major sponsors Frank Rewold Construction/Royal Park Hotel, Hour Detroit, Rochester Mills Beer Co., Shelton Buick GMC, and Soave Enterprises; and supporting sponsors Buffalo Wild Wings, Green Electrical Supply, Byers Wrecker Service, McDonald’s and Tyler Dumas Reyes Orthodontics.