La Porte Kicks of WinterFest with Ice Sculpture Demos

By: Sam Malkowski Last Updated: January 23, 2016

January could freeze our streets and our cars but it could not touch our hearts. Winter is a time to celebrate! The La Porte Parks and Recreation Department organized a series of seasonal events and projects and dubbed it: Winterfest. Every citizen was invited to attend. On January 22nd the week long party was kicked off with an ice sculpture presentation in front of the La Porte Chamber of Commerce.

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Blocks of ice were delivered by City Pure Ice and set up in the lawn in front of the Chamber. Local artists, led by Alfredo Arroyo, got to work carving art from the frozen prisms. They used various tools, including chainsaws and clothes irons.

Each sculpture is different and represents a different aspect of the community. A sunflower was carved in honor of the annual festival. Another artist worked hard to form a lighthouse out of his material.

“You never know with art,” said sculptor Don Weber of New Carlisle. “It’s always fun. I’ve worked at an ice company for 26 years. We used to deliver the ice and after a while, I wanted to know how to carve it.”

Alfredo Arroyo has been in the business of carving statues out of unique materials for over 52 years. He has even tried his hand on butter sculptures. He has done banquets, weddings, and other local events like the La Porte Ice Sculpture presentation.

“I enjoy watching the kids,” he explained. “I talk to them and have fun with them. It’s about seeing them smile.”

The ice sculptures used to line the streets of La Porte but it was decided a central location was better for the preservation of the statues and for the convenience of viewing. Next year they will be crafted in the city’s new plaza.

Many organizations got involved to make an event like this possible. The sculptors volunteer their time. Sponsors like NIPSCO, Centier Bank, Blue Chip Casino, and Qubit Networks help out with monetary donations. Everything was organized by the Parks and Recreation department, with the help of the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s important,” Director of Downtown La Porte, Thaddeus Cutler, explained, “For Downtown La Porte to be associated with the Parks Department. Anytime we can collaborate with other city departments it’s exciting. It shows that we are all in this together.”