By Sandra McNeill

PLYMOUTH (WWJ) – Ice carvers have been braving the elements in Plymouth this week, getting ready for one of the crowning events on the winter calendar.

WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeil caught up with Jeff Meyers of Ohio was he was carving an Eskimo ice sculpture in Chene Park.   He said the weather this week has been great for his job.

“Ideal, for me, I’d say is 25 degrees in full sun,” he said, “that way we don’t get sun rot on the ice, and the UV rays from the sun will actually eat at the ice causing it to turn white, and you’ll get little streaks where it will break off in little slivers.”

McNeil noted what looked like snow was sticking to Meyers’ beard.

“It’s the powder of the ice blowing on me … and if it was a little colder out here I’d have icicles coming off of my eyelashes and my eyebrows as well,” he said. “I don’t even notice it.”

Forecasters are calling for rain on Saturday.

Festival director James Gietzen says, despite what you may think, it is possible for it to get too cold for the ice.

“When it gets like negative-20 range, as soon as they touch it with a pick or a chisel, it shatters the entire block,” Gietzen said, adding that all the snow has slowed things down just a bit.

“Every time the sculptors are going to start building one of their pieces, it takes about ten, 15 minutes extra,” he said. “We’re lucky we have this tractor, otherwise, or we’d be shoveling by hand.”

While, so far, he said the weather has been perfect, he’s worried that this weekend’s rain may wash away some of the details — although the 100 sculptures should remain intact.

The festival runs Friday from 3 p.m. -10 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Get complete festival information at this link.


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