At least 44 ice sculptures will adorn the streets of downtown Somerset by Sunday afternoon as part of the annual Fire & Ice Festival. Somerset Inc. Executive Director Stephanie Williams says all of the carvings will be within a two-block radius of the “diamond”, which is the intersection of Center Ave and Main St. Several of the sculptures have already been carved and will be put in place Friday morning; the rest will be carved on the spot. “People will see the carvers from Mastro [Gourmet Quality Ice] around but I can’t give them an exact time, it just happens when it happens,” says Williams. She says they used to set times for the carvings but “weather or something always got in the way.”
Along with the ice sculptures the festival includes a fireworks display Friday night, wood carving demonstrations and displays throughout the weekend, kids and teen events, and a photo contest. Williams says the contest is broken into several categories, “ranging from the spirit of Fire & Ice, to people, to animals, and scenery, so it’s a wide variety and believe me the photos are spectacular.” The more than 60 submissions will be on display at the festival head quarters at 113 Main St. A full schedule can be found on the Somerset Inc. website.
All of the outdoor events are free but $6.00 buttons must be purchased for most indoor events. Williams says the best plan is to bundle up and plan to walk around. She says cloudy and 32 degrees is the best conditions for the festival. That is when the ice does not melt and the people do not freeze, says Williams.