Spectacular Ice Sculptures at ‘Snow Days Chicago’ at Navy Pier’s Gateway Park
There was snow and ice in the air and on the ground outside at Navy Pier as “Chicago Snow Days 2013” commenced on Friday, January 25th. Highlighting the outdoor festivities were a sensational collection of 15 extravagant snow – ice sculptures; created by teams of professionals from across the U.S. and around the world, some returning for the 2nd year in a row.
Creating something wonderful and brilliant out of a huge chunk of snow and ice is not a simple chore; yet these talented and clever artists managed to capture the essence and beauty of the outdoor winter season quite convincingly. Other fun games and activities intended for kids included snow shoeing, snow painting, and a new interactive snowboarding game. Inside Navy Pier, lively and engaging family entertainment at the Family Pavilion Stage awaited all of those who attended, giving them a chance to warm up.
Shaping and molding exquisite snow statues from 10- foot blocks of man made snow took days of strenuous work and a lot of ingenuity for these creative sculptors- under challenging weather conditions, but somehow they prevailed…
Their collaborative efforts were handsomely rewarded on Saturday when 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons and cash prizes were awarded, along with a special “People’s Choice Award” voted on by the public. Much to the delight of hundreds of spectators, multi-colored light wheels focused their rays on each individual statue (after dark), shining for a few seconds before rotating to a different color; thus giving all guests to this snow celebration a visual kaleidoscope of colors on snow.
A first place blue ribbon and a $1,500 cash prize was awarded to the statue called “Ai”. This clever creation featured three fish a sea serpent on top and was sculpted by a team from Racine, Wisconsin. Capturing the second highest number of votes by the judges was “Stars Observers” a swirling, curving masterpiece built by Pavel Speda, Patrik Rosa, and Marek Kristak who traveled all the way from the Czech Republic to show off their expertise. Outstanding were the efforts of a trio of brilliant artists who traversed across the globe from Munich, Germany. “Volante” displays beautiful symmetry of three perfect semi-circles positioned side by side. These wondrous and meticulously shaped 180 degree objects garnered a third place victory for Eric Mutel, Franziskan Agrawal, and Katja Kulenkamf.
Moms, Dads, and kids alike all crowded around the magnificent “Lion’s Thorn,” a lion with a tear in his eye, made of ice. Also garnering a lot of attention (but not any awards) in Navy Pier’s Gateway Park this blustery weekend was “Hollywood: Batman vs. Jaws” which depicted the legendary superhero forcing open the mouth of the infamous great white shark. Not to be overlooked were the stellar accomplishments of local high school students who collectively assembled 12 terrific snow statues strategically positioned right next to the public sidewalk.
So even with the wind freezing our hands on Saturday night or the rain- snow mix soaking our coats and shoes on Sunday afternoon, spectators of all ages (including myself) were mesmerized as Navy Pier’s Gateway Park was transformed into a magical winter wonderland that I could only dream about as a kid making a snowman in my own back yard way back when ….