Keene Ice and Snow Festival celebrates wonder of winter

Union Leader Correspondent
February 04. 2018 9:43PM

Zane Bassett, 6, of Vernon, Vermont, licks a small block of ice left over from the ice sculpturing competition. He stands in front of a butterfly, sculpted by Eric Knoll, which won first place in the ice sculpting competition. (Meghan Pierce / Union Leader correspondent)

Dave Soha won third place in the Keene Ice and Snow Festival ice sculpting competition on Saturday with a mermaid in Railroad Square. (Meghan Pierce/Union Leader Correspondent)

KEENE — The 16th annual Keene Ice and Snow Festival drew more than 3,000 people downtown on Saturday.

“It was a great day and we do it all for the kids. It’s nice to see their smiling faces,” said the festival’s event coordinator Jim Narkiewicz. “It was a little cold this morning, so we had more people this afternoon.”

Saturday’s temperatures cooperated with the festival this year, making conditions ideal for the annual ice sculpting competition that drew professional ice sculptors, including Dennis Hickey and David Soha of Ice Breakers Ice Carving of Manchester.

Soha created a mermaid in Railroad Square, which won third place. Hickey won second place for his phoenix, which was also sculpted in Railroad Square.

Eric Knoll sculpted the butterfly in Central Square that won first place.

There are six ice sculptures altogether, Narkiewicz said, as well as a sea turtle sculpted out of snow by artist Emily Sodders.

“Hopefully they’re staying up for a few days so people can enjoy them throughout the week,” said Narkiewicz, who added that sometimes the sculptures get knocked down overnight or melt in warm winter temperatures.

Initially run by the Keene Chamber of Commerce, the Monadnock Travel Council now runs the event, which includes face painting and a bonfire for making s’mores.

The festival was started by a resident who wanted to create a fun winter events for children in the region.

“It was started by a man of the name of “Old” Bill Jones who did it for the children and we keep it going every single year,” Narkiewicz said. “He just liked winter and the events and doing things for children so we keep his spirit going.”

EntertainmentGeneral NewsWinter FunKeene

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