Ice sculpting added to Rochester Fire & Ice Festival

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Rochester — Ice sculpting has been added to the lineup for this year’s Rochester Fire & Ice Festival.

The ninth annual event will pit students from six colleges and culinary arts programs against each other in carving sculptures.

With a mild start to winter, organizers are hoping for more seasonal temperatures for the festival’s run Jan. 22-24.

“We’re doing snow dances in hopes winter will cooperate,” J. David VanderVeen, event chairman, said Tuesday.

VanderVeen said while the long-range forecast calls for temperatures in the 20s and 30s, organizers have snow-making machines on hand should there be a need to give winter a hand.

More than 40,000 attended last year, participating in tube and dog sledding, a 5K run and fireworks. “We expect even more this year,” VanderVeen said.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is credited with being the “father” of the festival, which also includes ice skating, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

“This was created as another quality of life family event like our Brooksie Way run in the fall and Quake on the Lake in the summer,” said Patterson, who praised hundreds of volunteers and sponsors for making the festival a free admission reality. Area restaurants will be open and also operating a TasteFest & Beer Tent.

The festival site at East Water and Third in downtown Rochester, will run 5-9 p.m. Jan. 22; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Jan. 23; and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 24. Fireworks will be at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The city of Rochester’s Big, Bright Light Show downtown is being continued for the festival, Patterson said.

For event schedules and information, go to or

(248) 338-0319