‘This is carving weather’Published 1:53pm Friday, January 13, 2012
Carvers worked through the night and snow removal crews through the day Friday to ensure the Hunter Ice Festival was a go.
Rolando de la Garza, a Houston ice artist who goes by Reverend Butter, said he and the other carvers braved the frigid temperatures and worked all evening Thursday until midnight.
Mild temperatures and drizzle delayed the carvers on Thursday during the day.
“The weather held us back,” he said. “So we had to catch up.”
But Friday, the conditions were perfect.
“I was so happy it makes me want to swear. Hell yeah,” said San Antonio ice artist Buddy Rasmussen. “This is carving weather.”
Niles Main Street Director Lisa Croteau was also thrilled by the conditions Friday, considering the mild weeks leading up to the festival.
“God loves this festival. There’s no other explanation,” she said.
An interactive ice park and an ice carriage with six-foot-tall sea horses are among the projects for the carvers.
“They’re turning Niles into a magical, magical place,” Croteau said.
While the six carvers were turning more than 30 tons of ice into art, the City of Niles street crew was busy cleaning up from the nine inches of snow that fell overnight Thursday.
Aaron Holy, Department of Public Works superintendent, said 11 trucks were on the roads Friday while several sidewalk plows were also employed.
“It’s pretty chaotic today with all the snow and the Ice Festival,” Holy said.
The city is also bringing in contractors to haul the snow from the street to the St. Joseph River.
“We have tractors with snow blowers throwing the snow into the back of big dump trucks to haul it down to the river,” Holy said.
The street crews were also focusing their efforts on downtown, in light of the ice festival, Holy said, including removing the usual walls of snow that build up in the center lanes.
The sidewalks downtown were mostly clear by Friday afternoon.
“The business owners were great. We definitely made it a priority,” Croteau said. “The city has been amazing helping us out too.”
Tags: Hunter Ice Festival