July 23, 2016

Mostly clear

An icy Sunday on Medina’s Public Square

MEDINA — You might think an ice carver gets cold standing outside for three hours in below-freezing temperatures.

Not so, said carver Angela Mathie, 20, of Loudonville.

“I was sweating,” she said.

Mathie was one of 21 participants in the individual carving competition, held Sunday during the city’s 19th annual Ice Festival.

Mathie, who is part of the University of Akron’s ice carving club, said she’s been practicing the art for about 13 months. She carved a leaping rabbit for Sunday’s competition.

Several ice carving competitions were held throughout the weekend festival. Aaron Costic, of Elegant Ice Creations, a festival sponsor, said 165 blocks of ice were carved during the festival.

“The quality of the sculptures was great,” he said.

Costic estimated that about 30,000 people attended the festival throughout the weekend. The festival was also sponsored by FirstMerit Bank and Main Street Medina.

Taking the top prize in Sunday’s competition was Michael Stoddart, 47, of Lexington, Ky., who has been carving ice for 16 years. It was his first visit to the festival, he said.

Stoddart created a grasshopper with legs outstretched. He described the weather as “perfect” for working with ice, in the mid-20s. It was 21 degrees Sunday afternoon.

Those wishing to escape the cold could warm up in a heated tent with hot chocolate and meet Fluffy the alligator, compliments of Visit Orlando, a trade organization representing more than 1,200 businesses and other groups in Orange County, Fla.

Visit Orlando’s tent and alligator were festival firsts.

P.J. Brown, who does sales and marketing for Wild Florida, a wildlife park outside Orlando, let festival-goers hold the

2-year-old female alligator and pose for photos.

Fluffy was born and bred on a farm, he said. “She’s very calm, used to people,” Brown said. “She’s been held her whole life.”

Even though the heated tent will be packed away, more than 60 ice sculptures will remain on display through this afternoon in and around Public Square.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.