The Crystalline World of Ice Sculpture Festivals

Skiing, ice skating, hockey, and luge aren’t the only competitions that take place in the wintertime. Across, the globe there are an abundance of ice and snow sculpture festivals and contests, and taking home a top prize from one of these events is a dream come true for many ice sculptors from Long Island. From China to Alaska, these festivals showcase the breathtaking beauty of clear, crystalline ice sculptures and draw intention to the skill and dedication of ice sculptors from Long Island and across the globe.

One of the premiere festivals is the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in Harbin, China, the birthplace of the art of ice sculpture. The festival was founded in 1963, suspended during the Cultural Revolution, and reinstituted in 1985. Today, it is one of the largest such festivals in the world and lasts one month, beginning on January 5 every year. Ice sculptors from Long Island and elsewhere are invited to carve huge blocks of ice that have been drawn from the Songhua River, and at night the sculptures are lit with colored lights, creating the effect of a glowing glass city.

The Sapporo Snow Festival is another Mecca for ice sculptors from Long Island. The festival has been in existence since 1950 when six high school students built huge snow sculptures in a local park. It has now grown to an international event featuring over 400 snow and ice sculptures from teams around the world. Cultural performances also take place on stages made of ice.

Domestically, ice sculptors from Long Island take part in the World Ice Art Championship in Fairbanks, Alaska, the largest such contest in the world. Each year, it attracts over 100 ice sculptors from across the globe. There are three divisions to the contest, and each of these divisions is divided into realistic and abstract sculptures. The most popular event is the Single Block Classic, in which teams of two create an icy art work from a block measuring 5 ft x 8 ft x 3 ft. The creation takes place over two days, and participants are not allowed to use any large machinery. The Multiblock Classic allows teams of four to create sculptures from twelve blocks of ice measuring 4 ft x4 ft x 3 ft each; these artists are allowed to use machinery. The final division of the competition is the Fairbanks Open. It is not judged, and amateurs as well as world-class sculptors take part.

Ice sculptors from Long Island dream of participating in one of these festivals. And to win a prize at the World Championship is a dream come true. As the Oscars are to film making and the Olympics are to skiing, the Fairbanks Championship is to ice sculpting. It is also a great way to draw much-deserved attention to the talent, dedication, and beautiful art of ice sculptors.

An ice sculptors in Long Island can add their special touch of elegance to your reception and create an image that your guests won’t soon forget. For more details, visit the website.


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