The Plymouth Ice Festival was my introduction to town six years ago, and this year, now that I’m officially a resident, I’m throwing an Ice Festival party. From what I’ve heard, it’s a bit of a tradition.
The festival, formerly known as the Plymouth International Ice Sculpture Spectacular, is in its 29th year, and, over those years, the ice sculptures on display in Kellogg Park have led people—happily—back out into the cold.
This year, the festival runs Jan. 21-23.
Victor West, owner of Vanessa’s Flowers, remembers it being a reason to get together with friends when he lived in town, some 20 years ago. “We’d have a cocktail, walk down to the festival, then come back to the house, have some chili and hang out.” He says, “It was kind of a pseudo-Super Bowl party.”
Even though the event is fast approaching, there’s still time to plan a party. Here are some ideas to get you started:
For winter-themed cocktails, start with vanilla vodka, peppermint schnapps or Blue Curacao. You can create your own martini, based on your favorite flavors, by tweaking recipes you find online. Or, you can stick to the classics and serve hot buttered rum or mulled wine. For non-alcoholic drinks, use a crock-pot to keep a big batch of cider or hot chocolate warm. And, to play up your ice festival theme, pick up some star or heart-shaped ice cube trays. The Ikea store in Canton sells them.
Whether you want to go casual or upscale, give your guests some choices. You can serve chili with lots of toppings or, as Jeff Zak of Jeff Zak Catering suggests, you can offer a selection of soups, such as Curried Butternut Squash. Toppings for it can include toasted coconut, walnuts, bananas, cilantro and fresh lime.
This is a no-brainer if you’re going to have kids at the party. Have them cut out snowflakes galore. Keep it simple but, if you want something more elegant, pick up a couple of bouquets of fresh flowers, one to use for a centerpiece and another for a small powder room arrangement. Tulips are inexpensive this time of year, says West. You can get colorful or stick to white tulips and mix them with winter greenery, such as pine.
Be a Kid Again...and Take Pictures
If we’re lucky, the snow will stick around for the festival and we’ll all have a chance to play in it. Frank Agostino, owner of E.G. Nicks, remembers one chilly festival weekend where a couple of neighbors built snow forts in their yards and, well, what else could that lead to, except a neighborhood snowball fight.
Plymouth Ice Festival executive producer, Sam Walton, who owns Signature Professional Group, says he remembers a get-together in town that led to a late-night snowman-building contest. And, at a party he attended last year, the host asked all of the guests, little kids and grown-ups, to take digital pictures while browsing through the ice sculptures downtown. When everyone gathered back at the party, the photos were downloaded onto a computer and made into a montage, projected onto a big screen TV. Something different caught everyone's eye and, Walton says, it was fun to see the event from the perspective of someone who’s 2 ½ feet tall.
Whatever you plan to do and whatever the weather, make the most of it. After the ice festival, you can send pictures to all of your friends in Florida and you just might make them jealous.
For more information on the Plymouth Ice Festival, visit plymouthicefestival.org. The dates and times are as follows:
Friday, Jan. 21 3:00pm-11:00pm
Saturday, Jan. 22 10:00am-11:00pm
Sunday, Jan. 23 10:00am-6:00pm
And stay with Patch for continuing coverage of all of this year's ice festival events.