Archive for December 17, 2011

Shipshewana Ice Festival, Dec. 28-30

December 17, 2011 Leave a comment
Nativity Scene at the Shipshewana Ice Festival

Nativity Scene at the Shipshewana Ice Festival. Photo provided by LaGrange County CVB and used with written permission.

By Tammy Tilley
LaGrange County CVB

Consider the scenario: Christmas Day 2011 is history. The gifts are put away, but out-of-town friends and family linger. What’s a person to do to make the time a bit more memorable for everyone?

They can attend the Shipshewana Ice Festival, that’s what.

The season continues to sparkle with post-Christmas delights on December 28-30, 2011, when the town hosts this fifth annual event that garnered the attention of USA Today in 2008.

This three-day event showcases the highest concentration of large ice sculptures (with 10 blocks of ice or more used) between Indiana and Alaska.

Professional carvers begin early on Wednesday by carving their ice blocks all around town, as commissioned by local businesses to create themed designs of their choice. With the carving beginning around 10 am, the sculptors will work well into the early evening when the ice sculptures finally reach completion.

On Thursday, the same carvers show off their skills in a carving competition, again downtown near the Davis Mercantile. The public is also invited to get involved with a snowman-building contest. If Mother Nature hasn’t provided the snow, a snowmaking machine will fulfill the need.

Then on Friday, snowmobile races and a chili cook-off with 10 or more local chefs will kick off at 10 am at the Town Center, located on State Road 5/Van Buren Street, two blocks south of the flea market. In the past, the snowmobile races have run into the evening hours and gather a large crowd of observers.

As an added bonus, the Shipshewana Ice Festival offers a collector’s item in a commemorative pin created each year by a local high school student. This pin enables shoppers to receive special discounts through the end of January.

“This event just gets bigger and better,” said Levi King, originator of the event and owner of several Shipshewana shops.

“One year an ice carver sculpted a baby grand piano. He even had the piano propped open.

“This year I’m told flames will burn in some of the sculptures.”

King also said local Coca-Cola trucks will advertise the Ice Festival, from Northern Indiana to Fort Wayne.

Local resident Jay Chupp adds, “Many people in the Amish community attend this event. They especially enjoy the snowmobile races. They like to have fun like everybody else does.”

Beth Thornburg, Director of the LaGrange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, comments, “The kids are still on holiday vacation, and gifts have all been unwrapped, so you’re looking for something to do. This unique event is sure to etch some great family memories onto everyone’s minds.”

“People tend to stay indoors in the wintertime,” adds King, “and they end up feeling depressed or sad. The Ice Festival is intended to help people have a great time, enjoy winter, and have fun in Shipshewana.”

For more information on this and other events, call 800-254-8090, or visit