This weekend, about 100,000 people are expected to stroll through downtown Plymouth to interact with wintry exhibits and admire intricate ice carvings.
The Plymouth Ice Festival, the largest free ice sculpture exhibit in the United States, opens at 3 p.m. today at in downtown Plymouth.
This year's edition promises some new bells and whistles, as the event .
Here's a rundown of what you should know if you plan to visit the 2012 Plymouth Ice Festival.
If you're coming from out of town and are not familiar with the Plymouth area, you'll want to get off on the Ann Arbor Road exhibit from I-275 (applicable if you're coming from the north or south) and head west off the exit toward Plymouth.
Take Ann Arbor Road several stoplights down until you hit Main Street. Turn right onto Main and follow it directly into downtown. You will see a sign at South Main Street and Ann Arbor Trail welcoming you to Plymouth for the event and instructing you to turn left or right to park, and you should see the festivities in progress.
Parking in downtown Plymouth is free, but with time limits in many areas. There also usually are paid private lots available during special events and free roadside parking just blocks away from the action.
A printable map of downtown's parking options for the festival is available .
Parking in the immediate downtown area usually is limited to two hours.
Areas with free parking without time limits include the top floor of the parking deck structure at the corner of Harvey and Fleet streets (the bottom floor is three hours), in the parking lot for the and in the Gathering pavilion, in portions of the Penniman Avenue parking lot and on-street parking along Fralick Street.
How much does this cost?
The Plymouth Ice Festival is free to attend and parking is free. You might want to bring some money for refreshments and nearby entertainment or dining. Downtown is full of locally owned shops and restaurants.
Bring a camera
There will be some striking exhibits and plenty of fun moments for you and your family to photograph. Afterwards, be sure to .
Something for the kids
Children will find plenty to do at this year's Plymouth Ice Festival. This year's event featured video games with ice benches for the players and a Winter Fun Zone in .
How cold will it be this weekend?
According to WeatherBug, it will be 19 degrees Friday (low of 14) with a 90 percent chance of snow and a wind chill of -4 degrees; 25 degrees on Saturday (low of 17) and 35 degrees on Sunday (low of 30) with a 20 percent chance of rain or snow. Dress warm!
Fear not, though, as there will be a heated tent inside the Gathering pavilion, located next to the and other areas to find warmth.
What is there to do at the Plymouth Ice Festival?
Check out the festival's full list of events .
This year there are tons of sculptures, an ice bar at , a Winter Fun Zone with wintry sport demonstrations, live music, an appearance by Sesame Street Live's Grover and plenty of booths and vendors.
Be sure to stop by Patch's booth inside the Gathering (yes, it's heated!) for a chance to win some prizes.
What else is there to do in Plymouth besides the festival?
If you've had your fun with the ice for the day, check out in the general area.